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Empire of the Sun 1987 *****


JB Ballard’s autobiographical novel was skillfully adapted by Tom Stoppard for director Harold Becker, and even David Lean was interested in directing, but it was Stephen Spielberg who made arguably his best adult film in this searing drama, as the horrors of war take their toll on a young boy, Jim (Christian Bale) who is separated from his parents after the Japanese Invasion of Shanghai in 1941. John Malcovich, Nigel Havers and, yes Ben Stiller, help Jim to find his sense of himself in an internment camp, but Empire of the Sun doesn’t offer a happy end, instead content to document and depict a child’s experience in an epic style, with period detail in classic style and a rousing John Williams score.


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