City of Life and Death (2009)

Filed under : historical, review

Recently, I stumbled upon this film based on the Battle of Nanjing and its aftermath (most commonly referred to as “The Rape of Nanking” or the Nanking Massacre during the Second Sino-Japanese War. And, being that I enjoy period pieces from time to time – this film was like no other. To be honest, it’s a very realistic depiction of the sign of the times during that period – it goes to say it’s not one for the faint of heart.

There are many scenes throughout the film that are extremely violent and inhumane in nature. Though, I believe this is exactly what the director wanted to get across – the very realism of what had happened at the time. And, let me just say – there were some scenes that I just couldn’t watch myself.

Despite these scenes, the movie seemed to be very interesting especially since I enjoy historical type films (such as this one). Though, this movie is definitely not for everyone – especially for those who cannot watch violent, war crime, type of films.

Regarding the storyline, I found it very intriguing with my fascination and interest in historical works. As the audience, we were able to see both sides of the coin – meeting different characters with different perspectives and point of views. And, this is what made the movie more humanlike in nature – it was not a one-sided story.

As with many historical type films, there were a few parts that dragged a bit which made the movie a bit longer. Though, I think this is very common in many historical types of movies – sometimes there are just so many events and instances the director may want to include as part of the historical work.

Overall, I did enjoy the movie as a whole more as an educational work than an entertainment one. Though, I did have some mixed feelings about the ending – it was a bit more artistic in nature which didn’t leave much room for closure. I did enjoy learning more about the characters involved and their life stories, though I felt the ending just didn’t have the punch I was looking for.

To be honest, this is more of a film for those who like to watch historical type of movies. Though I did enjoy learning the historical perspective and following the development of the characters, it’s more of an educational type of film than an entertaining one. Had it ended with that extra punch that make movies great, it may have been more memorable.

If you enjoy period and historical type of films, you may want to check this one out for the educational value rather than the entertainment value. Though if you don’t and are very sensitive to violent, war, type of movies – you may just want to pass on it.

Film Gurl’s 15 Minute Rule: NEUTRAL

Happy movie watching!

p.s. Feel free to leave comments on any post either here and/or my Facebook Page. Comments are always welcome, thanks for reading!

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2 Responses to “City of Life and Death (2009)”

  1. ruth says:

    Thanks for the warning, I don’t do well w/ violent war movies actually. I’m still curious about Flowers of War though.

    • filmgurl says:

      Yes, the film is definitely not for the faint of heart – some of the scenes were just too graphic and violent. I haven’t seen Flowers of War, I may just have to check it out! :)

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