Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: The Last Emperor

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

Starring: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole

Year: 1987

Genre: Drama

Rated: PG-13

Length: 163 min.

IMDB Summary: The story of the final Emperor of China.

A life that begins as an emperor of China and ends as a poor gardener is a movie waiting to be made--fortunately, for historians and moviegoers alike, Bertolucci's adaption of Pu Yi's life is extraordinary and exceptional in its directing, acting, cinematography, music and storyline. The historical settings depicted in the film are so skillfully-crafted that it's hard to believe The Last Emperor was made in the eighties. I was especially impressed with the scene featuring a bar in Manchukuo, where Japanese women were dressed as flappers and dancing to American music. The Forbidden City scenes earlier in the film were stunning, the cinematography bringing out the vivid red and gold colors of the courtyard, creating an atmosphere that is truly majestic. Another aspect of the film which I appreciated was the camera's cutting back and forth between Pu Yi as a young emperor and Pu Yi as a prisoner in a Japanese camp. These scenes were handled delicately and artistically, showing Bertolucci's skill as a director. History geek or not, I recommend that you see The Last Emperor--the directing, acting, cinematography, music and storyline resemble that of a cinematic masterpiece, making this movie definitely worth the watch.

For Parents:
Some sexual innuendo (a man with two wives under the covers, women behaving suggestively under the influence of opium, eunuchs carrying testicles in jars--not visible), some violence (cutting wrists, shootings, film footage of decomposed bodies), one use of strong language

My Rating:
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