Movie Details

Sacrifice

"Sacrifice" is based on the Yuan Dynasty play `Orphan Of Zhao`. For generations, the Zhao family has wielded power, even extending over the king. In a well-planned coup, their mortal enemy, a nefarious minister called Tu An Gu (Wang Xue Qi) slaughters the entire clan, determined to wipe out their influence forever. However, a solitary Zhao baby survives and is hidden and taken home by Cheng Ying (Ge You), the doctor who delivered him, to live with his wife (Hai Qing) and their own newborn. Set on revenge, and raising the Zhao child as his own, Cheng Ying bides his time, enrolling himself and the Zhao orphan (whom he calls Cheng Bo) into the service of the Tu An Gu household. Tu An Gu grows very fond of Cheng Bo and makes him his godson, unaware that Cheng Ying has been plotting to use the boy as an instrument of vengeance when he comes of age. However, as the day draws closer, the boy`s true identity is discovered.

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Genre: Drama / Historical
Running Time: NA
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Cast: Man Cheuk Chiu, Fan Bingbing, Ge You, Wang Xueqi, Huang Xiaoming
Director: Kaige Chen
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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

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Watch this if you liked: “The Banquet”, “The Promise”, “The Emperor And The Assassin”

Known for his enduring classics like "Farewell My Concubine" (1993) and lavish curios like "The Promise" (2005), Chen Kaige's reportedly highest-grossing film to date "Sacrifice" is a stylish historical drama that combines a strong narrative with formidable casts to give you a morally punishing Chinese epic that holds its own against any adaptation of Hamlet.

Variety's Leslie Felperin calls it "an emotionally fertile exploration of paternal love and revenge", revolving around "that old storytelling chestnut - babies swapped at birth". Indeed based upon the Yuan Dynasty play "Orphan Of Zhao", we follow the life of the titular character - a child that is the only surviving member of his massacred clansmen. The boy is taken care of by a doctor, who even sacrifices his own child to save this royal heir. He carefully grooms him for vengeance against the cruel minister who ordered the genocide and even manages to enter their home as servants - but the twist is that the boy's identity is revealed all too early.

Starring top Mainland actor Ge You ("Let The Bullets Fly") as the doctor and backed by Wang Xue Qi ("Bodyguards and Assassins"), Huang Xiao Ming ("The Message") and Zhang Feng Yi ("Red Cliff"), we are inclined to forgive Fan Bing Bing ("Lost in Beijing") for dying so early in the film. It is not a movie experience in which you can easily get up from your seat and go to the toilet. Rich in subtlety and expertly contained, every scene is to be savoured and even the little nuggets of emotion from child actor William Wang (the orphan) will attest to Chen's knack of getting the most out of his subjects.

These days, Chen seems very much exonerated for his choice of past projects, appearing cheerful and dignified together with the child actor at numerous promo events in Berlin, as well as the Hong Kong International Film Festival earlier in March this year at which this writer had the opportunity to watch the premiere. It is indeed an elegant and resplendent Chinese blockbuster that deserves all the attention it gets.

Cinema Online, 26 August 2011
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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