The resulting, highly uneven film excels at dramatic set pieces, but stumbles in the sections that link them together.
| Original Score: 2/4
A chronicle of unrelenting misery, sorrow and human degradation that has powerful moments but is hardly uplifting.
Shifting between individual suffering (performed, not felt) and extended political and business deliberations, the pic displays its budget but not its heart.
Director Feng Xiaogang captures the epic scale of the exodus as well as the often-harrowing details, yet emotional connection proves more elusive.
| Original Score: 2/5
It catalogs agony without making you feel it.
There is surprisingly little emotional resonance with the well-drawn and acted characters, making it a tiring two and a half hour trek for filmgoers who don't have a stake in the history it recounts.
Chinese epic illuminates a dark chapter in its WWII history
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Disaster movie and war movie in one dramatic realisation of a dark chapter in China's history, Back to 1942 is epic in its intentions and its scope
A relatively even-handed account of a famine which killed three million people, but the storytelling is so careful that it fails to build much interest or emotion.
"Back to 1942" shows the director's mastery of chaotic spectacle, massed human motion and elegant camera movements.
| Original Score: 2.5/4