New review: ‘The Children of Huang Shi’

children_of_huang_shi_poster.jpgThe Children of Huang Shi, a dramatized (and somewhat fictionalized) take on the true story of George Hogg, a young British adventurer who arrived in China during the brutal Japanese invasion and occupation of 1937 and became the protector of a group of orphans abandoned to the war, is released this week. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, the China-Australia-Germany co-production, shot in China and Australia, stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Hogg, a real Renaissance man and something of a saint, and co-stars Radha Mitchell, Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh.

The script sketches out the politics of war-torn China and the underground activities of black-market operators (including a regal turn by Michelle Yeoh), and even gives us an American nurse (Radha Mitchell) with a guerrilla approach to her job, but mostly it leans on sentiment and children in peril for its drama.

For all that, it is an affecting portrait and a strong story with a compelling backdrop, and Chinese cinematographer Xiaoding Zhao (“Curse of the Golden Flower”) makes the gorgeous locations look magnificent. What Spottiswoode lacks in subtlety and restraint, he balances with a heartfelt passion for the material.

Read the complete review here.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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