THE CHILDREN OF HUANG SHI (Sony, 2008) D: Roger Spottiswoode, w/ Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN Rating: NNN
Too bad there's no commentary. A quick Google of the name George Hogg reveals an amazing story and, while it's clear we're watching a heavily condensed version of the man's life, it would be good to know which of the details are fiction and which fact.
In 1937, Hogg (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a young English reporter, sneaks into Japanese-occupied Nanking. He's captured, rescued by a revolutionary (Chow Yun-Fat) and sent to recuperate at a remote orphanage, where he finds no food and no one in charge. He takes over and provides care for about 25 despairing, shell-shocked children. Travelling nurse Lee Pearson (Radha Mitchell) helps and provides the love interest.
Director Roger Spottiswoode dispenses with sentimentality and soft-pedals the uplift, but the stars are too pretty for plausibility, which badly weakens the drama of their climactic three-month trek over the mountains.
Even so, this worthwhile renter is well made, well acted, visually beautiful and has some moments of genuine emotion.
EXTRAS Making-of doc. Widescreen. English audio. English, Spanish subtitles.