Y’know what I’d like to see? Christian Bale in a comedy film. Not one where he comically plays on his image as a stern and forbidding screen presence, like Robert De Niro in Meet The Parents, but an actual comedy film, where whatever capacity he has to display human warmth is utilised in the fine and noble tradition of attempting to make people laugh.
Seeing as this is about as likely to happen as methane-powered space flight (imagine the smell!), let’s have a look at the Chinese blockbuster he’s made, in which he gets to huff and smoulder a lot.
The Flowers of War was directed by Zhang Yimou, and is already seriously being considered as a contender for the Best Foreign Language film Oscar.
Christian plays John Magee, a flawed American priest in China in 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese war. The city of Nanking (now formally known as Nanjing) has been invaded by the Japanese, and he helps a group of Chinese women escape the Nanking massacre.
As you can see, the film’s contains a lot of very expensive-looking special effects, so it should come as no surprise to learn this is China’s most expensive production to date, coming in at around $90 million. Oh and it’s quite a graphic trailer, be warned: