The Flowers Of War (BLU-RAY)

The Flowers Of War

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Running Time: 
146 Minutes
Did You Know:

Grossed more than 310 million on the domestic (Chinese) box office making this the highest grossing Chinese production of all time. ~IMDB

I’ll be honest. Before I began watching The Flowers Of War I had already written off the film as another retelling of foreign history manifested towards its audience with the help of an American presence, Christian Bale (yes, I know he‘s not really American but he plays one in this movie…as well as almost all of his other films as well). It also didn’t help that Bale has increasingly become less favorable in my opinion over the years. In any case I put the BD on and sat back with somewhat low expectations.

The Flowers Of War is an aesthetically pleasurable film that manages to capture the time and place as well as the terrifying truths of war, the cruelty of hidden humanity, as well as the beauty of exceptional people becoming heroes in the midst of extraordinary times. With the Blu-Ray’s exceptional audio presentation your immersed in the sounds of danger, horror, and glory of the film and director Zhang Yimou’s interesting camera style, film look, and color saturation really offer up a good blend of visual immersion that you can’t help but find yourself enveloped in a majority of the films more intense and heart wrenching moments.

You can’t help but be impressed with the casting of this film, wait for it. The cast is huge with soldiers, orphans, women of ill repute, so on and so forth. The children in the film really make you believe in their plight which is extremely helpful in setting the mood and really investing you in the story as it unfolds. The women who accompany them, along with Bale, also do a fantastic job of really manifesting the various stages of emotion that occur during the film as the group attempt to escape to safety. And then you have Bale.

Bale’s character begins the film as a really unlikable sort. So unlikable in fact that even when he turns over a new leaf in the face of an atrocity so deplorable it actually got me on my feet ready to put a fist through my television, there’s a genuine feeling of doubt about his character that I just couldn’t shake. Of course with Bale’s reputation as somewhat of a hard to work with sort the bias tends to set in. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a man playing a part. In any case, as I always say, you can attest to great acting by finding a rational state of hatred for an actor playing a part however irrational that might be. In any case Bale felt out of place within the film. It really could have done without him being the typical white savior tramping through the usual plight of seemingly helpless foreigners. I’ll always wonder what this film could have been had it starred a native actor leading his people to safety in the midst of a plight that would have effected him much deeper then just arousing in him a sense of self preservation. Chalk that up to the timeline in which I have witnessed countless films that have all used the same formula, however beautifully they captured a countries history of turmoil, even if briefly when not stopping to pedestal the lone American hero.

Picture quality is for the most part excellent. Mind you this film takes place in a lot of bombed out, gutted out, low lit places which puts off the picture a slight bit, but you can look at it as an imperfection or as a POV type deal where the imperfection is a manifestation of the world of which our characters see. All together though the BD presentation really offers up an immersive picture and audio package that puts you at the heart of the film, making everything you see look life like and sound as if you were there. Again, it’s either completely perfect, which is how I saw it, or slightly left of perfect due to a lighting issue. Either way The Flowers of War delivers a fantastic at home theater experience.

~ A Five Part Making of Featurette:
*The Birth of The Flowers Of War
*Meeting Christian Bale
*The Newborn Stars
*Hard Time During War
*Perfection of Light and Color

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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