Empire of the Sun (1987)

Empire of the Sun (1987)
  • Time: 152 min
  • Genre: Drama | History | War
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Joe Pantoliano, Miranda Richardson, Ben Stiller


Based on J. G. Ballard’s autobiographical novel, tells the story of a boy, James Graham, whose privileged life is upturned by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, December 8, 1941. Separated from his parents, he is eventually captured, and taken to Soo Chow confinement camp, next to a captured Chinese airfield. Amidst the sickness and food shortages in the camp, Jim attempts to reconstruct his former life, all the while bringing spirit and dignity to those around him.

One review

  • The Japanese invasion of China is an oft-forgotten aspect of WWII, but when you think about the idea of the small island empire invading its larger neighbour, you can definitely see how big the undertaking was. Combine this with Steven Spielberg’s epic style of film-making and you get a pretty big and exciting film.

    Jamie Graham (Christian Bale) is a privileged English boy living a life of luxury with his family in Shanghai, where his father owns a corporation. Soon after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbour, they invade Shanghai, leading to the separation from his parents. Left wandering around the city after leaving his home due to starvation, he is saved by Basie (John Malkovich), an American sailor. They are both eventually captured by the Japanese and sent to Soochow Creek Internment Camp. Jamie, now named Jim by Basie, finds a father figure in Dr. Rawlins (Nigel Havers) and runs a successful trade network that even includes some of the Japanese officers.

    Spielberg’s bigger picture really does come into play here. There are many scenes with hundreds of extras that blow my mind away. They’re definitely something that doesn’t get done today, massive groups of extras would just be added in digitally in contemporary films. There are also some great aerial battles, albeit watched from the ground through Jim’s youthful eyes, and these are a wonder to watch.

    Read the full review at http://www.thatothermovieblog.blogspot.com.au

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