With The Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan triumphantly concludes what is surely the greatest comic book trilogy of all time with an exceedingly bleak tale of self-renewal that is mostly electrifying yet unfortunately misses true greatness by suffering from some glaring pace issues and a slew of minor plot inconsistencies and contrivances that really should have long since been removed in the script writing process. These minor issues don’t torpedo the film but they are plainly obvious to most viewers yet the overall product is so chock full of epic ambition that many will simply overlook these problems as they immerse themselves emotionally in Nolan’s roller coaster ride of a narrative.
Director Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War is at times an incredibly poignant and starkly brutal look at one of the 20th Century’s biggest human disasters in the Rape of Nanking that ultimately suffers from being much too manipulative as well as being unwisely geared to two distinctly different markets. Mainland Chinese will undoubtedly know every minute detail of this tragedy but for those in the West it can best be described with the eerie and downright bone chilling analogy that this is essentially the Chinese version of the Holocaust. Suffice it to say, this is not one of humanity’s greatest moments and is a massive open wound to the Chinese psyche so it is no surprise that the mere mention of it will probably illicit a strong emotional response.