Christian Bale is gifted with two skills that unfortunately have no correlation with each other in the acting community. He is an extraordinary actor, but he also has the ability to pick scripts that turn into fantastic films. The script that he chose to do before The Dark Knight Rises is as nontraditional as one can get for a big name actor. Bale took the starring role in The Flowers of War, a Chinese production from top to bottom.
The film is based on the novel by Geling Yan, and tells the story (based on true events naturally) of an American priest trapped in Nanjing during the Japanese occupation and violation of that city. One of the most horrific acts of barbarism of the twentieth century, during the rape of Nanjing the Japanese Imperial army massacred and raped civilians for sport by the thousands, an atrocity that is the very symbol of what the term “crime against humanity” was invented to cover.
Bale’s priest finds himself protecting not only the Chinese school girls being taught in his church, but a group of prostitutes who disguise themselves as students. Trailer below.
What looks so magnificent about this trailer is the disjointed insanity of Bale’s performance towards its middle. This is no grim and stoic protector, he’s a man who loses it in the face of madness.
The film is being released in China on December 16th. There are still no plans for a wide American distribution, but it is getting a limited release sometime during December in order to qualify for American awards.