Empire of the Sun

Film, Drama

Time Out says

JG Ballard's autobiographical novel, about his experiences in the WWII Japanese concentration camps in China, is a mild version of the events he witnessed; Spielberg's is milder still. young Jim Graham (Bale) is Ballard, an obnoxious expat brat separated from his parents as the war overwhelms Shanghai. His world of balsa-wood models and servants is blown apart and replaced by prison camp brutality. Stripped of its sci-fi trappings, Ballard's text is about what shits we may become in order to survive. Spielberg includes a strand of populist heroism, yet even this fails to dent the awful message. And the budget makes itself seen, as does Bale's superlative Jim.


Release details

152 mins

Cast and crew

Steven Spielberg
Tom Stoppard
Emily Richard
John Malkovich
Joe Pantoliano
Leslie Phillips
Christian Bale
Rupert Frazer
Nigel Havers
Miranda Richardson
Masato Ibu
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