To save the only child of the Zhao Family, whose entire clan was massacred at the hands of a nefarious minister, a doctor sacrifices his own son; after the Zhao child grows up, the doctor becomes intent on seeking his vengeance.
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Sacrifice (Orphan of Zhao Family): To save the only child of the Zhao Family, whose whole clan is massacred at the hands of a nefarious minister, a doctor sacrifices his own son, and later becomes intent on seeking vengeance against the minister after the child grows up. For generations, the Zhao family has wielded power, even extending over the king. In a well-planned coup, their mortal enemy TU'AN GU (Wang Xue Qi) slaughters the entire clan, determined to wipe out their influence forever. However, a solitary Zhao baby survives the massacre, 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 baby. 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 Cheng Bo his godson, unaware that Cheng Ying has been plotting to use...Written by
Sacrifice (2010) directed by Chen Kaige is a misguided attempt at popularism. It fails in almost every department and resembles the work of a far less talented director. This is the surprise of Sacrifice, that it was directed by Chen Kaige.
The film is so overly edited that at times this frequent cutting only heightens continuity errors. In one short sequence when the young hero walks towards his "godfather", one carefully chosen shot would suffice but we are treated with cuts to over five different camera set- ups.
There are constant narrative flashbacks that are so short and trimmed that they confuse rather than enlighten.
The use of the "fade-to-black" is so prevalent that it becomes a distraction. There are many cinematic clichés such as slow motion suddenly being inserted into a sequence for no other reason than "style". The sound-design is very cheesy with booms and thumps accompanying almost every fade to black.
The story is essentially a melodrama, so the action, which is over-the-top and inconsequential, detracts from any emotional reality.
Unlike other famous Chinese directors that have successfully experimented in the martial-arts (Wuxia) genre, Chen Kaige seems uncomfortable with the action and the more fantastic it becomes the more out of place it seems.
The production design is also a weak point, with the sets looking like what they are - overly dressed sets.
Finally the question has to be asked: How many horses were killed during this shoot? During a lacklustre cavalry battle, some horses take terrible falls that could only have been achieved with a trip-wire. A couple of horses are seen to fall directly onto their necks and faces while their whole bodies twist above them. It is impossible to imagine that in these instances the horses where not seriously and irrevocably harmed.
A very disappointing and highly schizophrenic film from Chen Kaige.
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