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7.3
/10
1,590 Ratings

Empire of the Sun

Directed by Steven Spielberg
United States, 1987
Drama, War

Synopsis

A young British boy’s noble spirit allows him to survive the hardships of a Japanese prison camp in China during World War II.

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Empire of the Sun Directed by Steven Spielberg

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1988 | 6 nominations including: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration

The boy is portrayed by an adolescent Christian Bale, whose joyously captivating performance (arguably the film’s strongest feat) ranges wide from physical stunts to melodramatic bursts of rage and tears, and the angelic performance of a hair-raising Welsh lullaby, “Suo Gân.”The film erupts with some wonderful WWII clichés that only Hollywood can get away with, larger-than-life cinematography, and a cool, sly John Malkovich. What else do you really need?
January 11, 2017
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It is, in a strong if minority opinion (mine included), Spielberg’s greatest film… In an image both richly reverberate yet going beyond the director’s previous work, it’s what E.T. might have felt if we had gone to his planet—he’d finally gotten home, only to realize he no longer fit in. That ultimate isolation—the loneliness of growing up and beyond one’s parents, has its most potent expression here… Empire ends not with reassurance but with a question mark. What will this boy become?
January 03, 2017
It’s arguably Spielberg’s strangest object, a near-constant string of sounds and images that, even in their avowed verisimilitude, are possessed of a heightened unreality and contain scarring psychological depths.
April 05, 2012
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