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Empire of the Sun (1987)

An amazing historical movie based on a true story. The main protagonist is a high-society British boy dropped into the harsh environment of Shanghai during WW2 and has to ensure his own survival.

Steven Spielberg delivered a very well made a mixture of the four cultures – Japanese,  Chinese,  British and American, with behaviour patterns and nuances typical to each nationality. The magnificence of the Shanghai metropolis and the tragedy of the civilians facing the cruelty of wartime was remarkable.

However, the most remarkable thing in this movie is the boy Jamie Graham (outstanding play of young Christian Bale). 

Having a rich imagination and wisdom, he tells to his mom that God, in his dream, was playing in tennis, and he assumes that if people can see God in their dreams, perhaps God sees humans in His dreams too.

Jamie not only has his own opinions, but he also has his own vision. While adults, using logic and statistics, calculating the potential outcome of the war on the number of people and weapons, Jamie notes that the war will be won by someone who has COURAGE and that COURAGE is a national value of the Japanese.

Separated from his parents by a cruel destiny, Jamie tries to survive his new situation.  Hunger is a driving force for the boy, who looks for opportunities. 

Gut’ feelings or intuition is helping him escape from a big evil – a  Chinese street boy – and to join a smaller one – an American pragmatist called  Basie.  Giving a portion of the rise to Jamie, Basie has a farfetched plan – to sell the boy but his plan failed.  Jamie is observing and learning the Art of surviving.

Driven by a strong will to survive, Jimmy is getting a University of life from Basie. Death is all around, but Basie is teaching Jim ( his nickname for Jamie) to see opportunities even from the dead, whether it be an extra potato or pair of golf shoes.

At a certain point, Jimmy even jumped above his teacher’s head and saved lives of a British doctor and his patients.

We see atomic bomb’s explosion in front of Jimmy’s eyes. The boy amazingly compares the flash of it with the snapshot done by God.

The end of the movie is HAPPY – Jamie is reunited with his parents.

This movie a good recommendation to be watched by the whole family, and a few times.

See my rating on IMDb

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