Monday, 17 November 2014

Flowers of War (4½ Stars)

Prostitutes never care about a falling nation, they sing and dance while others are dying.

This quote from the film is probably true. It doesn't matter who is in charge of a country. Men always need sex, so skilled prostitutes are never short of work. This is especially true in wartime, when the invading soldiers have been separated from their wives and children. It's true that they can resort to rape, but the willing embrace of a woman who won't fight back is preferable.

When the Japanese army invaded Nanking in 1937 they slaughtered over 300,000 people. After all, the Chinese were Untermenschen who didn't deserve to live. A group of prostitutes take refuge in a Catholic convent run by American missionaries. The priest is dead, killed by a bomb that fell in the courtyard, and the only American left is John Miller, a drunken undertaker sent to bury the priest. Initially he only cares about himself, but as the situation worsens he unites the prostitutes and the Catholic schoolgirls to fight for survival.

This is a powerful film, and it's an untypical role for Christian Bale. He's a despicable bad guy who finds himself forced to commit heroic deeds.

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