Movie Review: "Empire of the Sun"

Essay by wolf123High School, 11th gradeA-, February 2007

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Steven Spielberg's movie "Empire of the Sun" is a coming-of-age story about a British boy, Jim, who is separated from his family at the start of World War II after a Japanese army invades British controlled areas of China. This event changes Jim's privileged life as he is cast into the dark world of endless bloodshed. Jim eventually interned in a Japanese POW camp for British civilians. When the war ends, Jim is torn from everything he knew in attempts to again find his parents. The movie depicts the life of an adolescent, and his views on war. The movie captures the spirit in his eyes entirely: whether he's blissfully flying a model airplane or is shook by terror during the riot. The passion of the movie develops this movie into a masterpiece of epic proportions.

Christian Bale, who plays the role of "Jim" in the movie, is able to make the character seem real, rather than simply a character in a novel.

Bale captures the reality and emotions that come out with growing up at the cyclone-center of a war, without sweetening it or drawing convenient moral conclusions. In one of the movie's last scenes, during the Allied bombing of the airstrip built by the camp prisoners, Bale implodes between excitement and heartsickness for the bodies buried under the runway. When the camp doctor stops him by telling him "Try not to think so much," Bale is caught suspended between emotions that stampede through him like spooked cattle. He is then overwhelmed by emotion when he realizes that he cannot picture his parents' faces. Jim grows up throughout the movie, and, fittingly, he struggles in the brutality of war. By the time he is reunited with his parents, he seems daydreaming in his own bomber-jacketed fantasies. Watching Bale's...