An American priest (Christian Bale) tries to protect a group of Chinese students and prostitutes from Japanese soldiers in 1937 Nanjing.
" Human suffering reduced to visual showmanship. "
" All Zhang's splendor does is foster cognitive dissonance in an audience. "
" An unsettling mixture of spectacular brutality and sentimentality that might make even Steven Spielberg blush. "
" I can't get it out of my thoughts, and I recommend it highly. "
" Zhang Yimou revisits the Nanjing massacre of 1937 by making something resembling a backstage musical, with breaks for the occasional ghastly murder or rape. "
" A strange hybrid of "City of Life and Death" and "Father Goose" that nevertheless, in the hands of Zhang Yimou, musters a few striking moments. "
" "Flowers" abounds with well-worn movie archetypes and slathers on schmaltz. "
" Zhang's flamboyant camera choreography and diva-ish flounces of melodrama are vivid but misplaced. "
" Affecting at times, but finally feels overblown and heavy-handed. "
" "The Flowers of War" seems like a pretty good film until you begin to think about it. "
" A third of a million may be dead, but for our purposes, all depends on the survival of these young women, and the redemption of the alcoholic American. Do you get my drift? "
" [Yimou] turns the Rape of Nanking into a visually stunning melodrama. But the effect of such extreme contrast is unsettling to say the least. "
" Zhang's mixture of unsparing violence, mawkish sentimentality and garish flourishes creates one uncomfortable aesthetic. "
" The director's grip on the drama is often weakened by his penchant for creating spectacles. "
" Battle scenes are spectacular - great explosions! - but most of the screen time is taken up by a contrived and schmaltzy script with little emotional punch. "
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