Friday, August 22, 2008

Children of the Huang Shi (Rhoades)

‘Children of Huang Shi’ Makes
Its Journey at the Tropic

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Roger Spottiswoode – a distant relation to Key West’s Spottswood family – directed “Children of Huang Shi,” a moving war drama set in China that opens today at the Tropic Cinema.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who has amazed us with his diverse performances as both Elvis and Henry VIII) plays an English journalist named George Hogg, who along with an Australian nurse saved sixty orphaned children during the Japanese occupation of China in 1937. Radha Mitchell (you’ve seen her in films as varying as “Silent Hill” and “Finding Neverland”) portrays the courageous young nurse.
Yun-Fat Chow (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) and Michelle Yeoh (“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”) are aptly cast as the Chinese partisans who join Hogg on this incredible thousand-mile journey across the snow-bound Liu Pan Shan mountains to the safety of the Mongolian desert at the western edge of the Great Wall.
Aside from being a thrilling wartime adventure, keep in mind that this film is based on a true story. It actually happened. So this is not just a made-up morality play, but a piece of history that in fact reaffirms of the goodness of man.
Here, a hardboiled journalist and an unsentimental nurse discover their capacity for love and responsibility to others.
“Children of Huang Shi” marks the first official co-production between China and Australia. In Australia the film is titled “Children of the Silk Road,” while in Singapore it’s known as “Escape From Huang Shi.”
These awesome mountain and desert regions of interior China have been rarely filmed. And talk about “a cast of thousands,” some 10,000 extras were hired for the movie’s sweeping crowd scenes.
Go see it. It’s a lesson in the true meaning of courage. [originally published in Solares Hill]

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