After winning his first Oscar last year for “The Fighter,” can Christian Bale make it a repeat this year? Judging by the first international trailer for Zhang Yimou‘s Oscar-contending “The Flowers Of War,” we somehow doubt it, but the scale of the film does look impressive even if the tone seems somewhat uneven.
China’s official entry for this year’s Oscars, “The Flowers Of War” focuses on the Nanjing Massacre in 1937, when thousands of inhabitants of the then-capital Nanjing were murdered by invading Japanese troops. Bale plays an American priest named John who shelters prostitutes and students during the attack, and as the trailer reveals, negotiates an uneven peace with Japanese troops. The material is certainly powerful, but it’s hard to tell if it’s just the way the trailer is cut or whether this thing is pitching itself way too far into melodramatic territory. Also hard to parse is Bale’s performance, which seems overly shouty and showy, but again, it could just be the way the moments have been put together. The battle sequences look appropriately devastating, but contrasted against the almost fashion advertising-esque scenes of prostitutes swinging their hips and in various stages of undress, it seems odd. Also, the trailer reveals the presence of none other than the constantly underrated Paul Schneider, so we’re glad to see him in the mix.
Still no word on a U.S. release date, as it needs to find a distributor first. But if you happen to be in China, it opens on December 16th. Watch below. [via ONTD]