Directed by Zhang Yimou, this epic film is about courage and sacrifice set against the ravages and horrors of war in 1937 in Nanjing, China. This film also marks the first time that a Western Actor has the lead role in a Chinese production.
The film has a limited opening playing only in a short list of select cities (just 21 theaters nationwide) beginning on Friday, January 20th, 2012.
Since it is not playing anywhere in Florida, I have to hope that it will achieve a wider distribution later on, or I’ll have to wait for the DVD to review it.
Christian Bale (an Oscar winner for The Fighter and he starred as Batman in The Dark Knight) has the lead role. He plays a traveling mortician, attending to the dead, while not an adventurer, he’s kind of a wayfaring dissolute man who happened to find himself in Nanjing, and at the church, when the Japanese troops attacked the city in December of 1937.
By circumstances unknown to me, so I’ll call them luck and fate, he and a group of frightened Chinese Catholic schoolgirls and another group made up of a dozen beautiful courtesans, find themselves trapped inside a walled compound, a home to a cathedral – which they hope will afford them safety from the marauding soldiers. Bale’s character, John Miller, will take up the role of the church’s priest, donning the clothing and vestments of a recently killed priest for the impersonation.