This adaptation of J.G. Ballard's quasi-autobiographical novel witnesses WWII through a child's eyes, and does so through a visual means more akin to silent than to modern filmmaking. Spielberg's vision is no longer one of innocent wonderment; instead, EMPIRE OF THE SUN concerns the end
of innocence--a young boy thrown into adulthood and an entire generation thrown into an atomic age.
The film opens just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Jim Graham (Christian Bale) is a nine-year-old English brat who has lived all his life in Shanghai with his aristocratic parents. Although adventurous, he is also wholly dependent on his parents and servants. L...