Friday, 23 September 2016

Narrative: Empire of the Sun

Image result for empire of the sun 1987 still

Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun takes inspiration from a novel by J.G. Ballard, based on his own experiences in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. The film follows Jamie "Jim" Graham (Christian Bale), who goes from living with his wealthy parents in Shanghai to being a prisoner of war after losing his parents as they attempted to flee. Despite being completely dependent on others at the beginning of the film, Jim learns to survive through a man called Basie (John Malkovich). The dynamic between the two male characters is interesting, as Basie believes he is using Jim for his own gain, but at the same time Jim is surviving, thriving and helping others to do the same through completing tasks for the older man. 

While the film feels arguably too long, it's beautifully filmed, and all the locations feel realistic and intriguing; from the prison camp to the graveyard-like football stadium filled with confiscated luxury items. Though some critics felt the film fell short, it still shows the kind of films Spielberg was capable of making.


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