Watch: Trailer For Christian Bale & Zhang Yimou’s Oscar Contending ‘The Flowers Of War’

by Kevin Jagernauth
October 20, 2011 4:52 AM
10 Comments
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After winning his first Oscar last year for "The Fighter," can Christian Bale make it a repeat this year? Judging by the first international trailer for Zhang Yimou's Oscar-contending "The Flowers Of War," we somehow doubt it, but the scale of the film does look impressive even if the tone seems somewhat uneven.

China’s official entry for this year’s Oscars, "The Flowers Of War" focuses on the Nanjing Massacre in 1937, when thousands of inhabitants of the then-capital Nanjing were murdered by invading Japanese troops. Bale plays an American priest named John who shelters prostitutes and students during the attack, and as the trailer reveals, negotiates an uneven peace with Japanese troops. The material is certainly powerful, but it's hard to tell if it's just the way the trailer is cut or whether this thing is pitching itself way too far into melodramatic territory. Also hard to parse is Bale's performance, which seems overly shouty and showy, but again, it could just be the way the moments have been put together. The battle sequences look appropriately devastating, but contrasted against the almost fashion advertising-esque scenes of prostitutes swinging their hips and in various stages of undress, it seems odd. Also, the trailer reveals the presence of none other than the constantly underrated Paul Schneider, so we're glad to see him in the mix.

Still no word on a U.S. release date, as it needs to find a distributor first. But if you happen to be in China, it opens on December 16th. Watch below. [via ONTD]

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10 Comments

  • Jack | October 20, 2011 8:52 AMReply

    In the original story, Bale's character was an old priest and a very minor role. Zhang Yimou dramatically changed the script in order to have a major Hollywood star play the lead role. Now this character becomes a young mortician (for convenience I guess so he can have sex with the prostitute) and the leading character. Zhang also devloped a love story for Bale's character as now the main prostitute becomes his love interest (none exists in the original story).

  • Mrs. Lift | October 20, 2011 8:20 AMReply

    StephenM,
    Bale's character is only pretending to be a priest. It's been a while since I read a plot summary, so I couldn't tell you why.

  • David | October 20, 2011 8:17 AMReply

    He's not really a priest. He's a mortician who pretended to be a priest so save the school girls and himself since the real priest is dead.

  • StephenM | October 20, 2011 7:34 AMReply

    He's an American priest? He sounds like he has the same cockney British accent from The Prestige.

    And is this film really going to show him having sex with a prostitute? Cuz that is so like movies--we can't have a main character without a love story and sex, so even though he's an apparently devout priest who would be celibate, we're gonna throw in a sex scene just to spice things up.

    Both Zhang Yimou and Christian Bale have made great movies in the past, but this trailer, at least, was atrocious.

  • carrie | October 20, 2011 6:05 AMReply

    i would like to see this movie in 3D because it looks impressive to see even if the trailer isn't good

  • idarklight | October 20, 2011 6:04 AMReply

    This isn't the final trailer. The producer of this trailer has said that this is a "trial trailer" and that there are currently two teams competing and collaborating to make the final trailer.

    For one, as obvious, the trailer chose to hide the storyplot of the "flowers," keeping them secret until closer to the release date. Hopefully, those girls will add a more human perspective to this film, something that Zhang Yimou excels at.

  • Jean Vilain | October 20, 2011 6:00 AMReply

    It’s good to see Christian Bale doing more movies. We see too little of him now.

  • travis Bickle | October 20, 2011 5:26 AMReply

    Terrible Trailer,but interesting movie.

  • kure | October 20, 2011 5:21 AMReply

    this is one big fucking movie!!!

  • slog | October 20, 2011 5:10 AMReply

    "judging by the first international trailer" ... man, shouldn't we all gauge movies' Oscar chances be judged by their trailer?

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