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Nanking (2007)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 48
Fresh: 46 | Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: This powerful and horrific documentary brings the atrocities committed at Nanking to light without sugarcoating any of the brutality.

100%
Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 20
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: This powerful and horrific documentary brings the atrocities committed at Nanking to light without sugarcoating any of the brutality.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 5,036

Trailer


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Movie Info

Filmmaker Bill Guttentag takes a closer look at the atrocities committed by the Japanese after Nanking fell to the Imperial Japanese Army in 1937 with this documentary that was inspired by Iris Chang's novel The Rape of Nanking. Compiled from over 700 hours of footage including news-reel footage, interviews with survivors and soldiers, and staged readings, Nanking was financed in large by millionaire Ted Leonsis, who had read Chang's obituary and subsequently been prompted to read the author's … More

Rating:
R (for disturbing images and descriptions of wartime atrocities, including rape)
Genre:
Documentary
Directed By:
,
Written By:
Elisabeth Bentley , Bill Guttentag , Dan Sturman
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Apr 29, 2008
Box Office:
$45.5k
Runtime:
ThinkFilm - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Nanking

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (2) | DVD (4)

The lesson here is not simply to vilify the Japanese soldiers of that era, but to make sure that we never forget who we are and what our country stands for today.

Full Review… | April 13, 2008
Film.com
Top Critic

Sheds light on particular wartime atrocities largely neglected in the collective memory.

Full Review… | February 1, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

This painful documentary ends on a hopeful note, although with a clear view of the cloud over human nature.

Full Review… | April 28, 2011
East Bay Express

A noble effort, but a flawed delivery. The film would benefit from more time spent with the real survivors, and less with actors tasked with "playing" the Western saviors.

Full Review… | June 12, 2010

Living through a screening of ... the 1937/8 Japanese invasion, devastation and occupation of Nanking creates a fervent wish to have nothing o do with our membership cards in the homo sapiens species.

Full Review… | July 23, 2009

A deft and dramatic melding of talking-head documentary, historic photos and film footage and readings by a cast of actors, the film is a devastating depiction of man's inhumanity to man. It is also about how some of us are brave enough to say 'No.'

March 14, 2008
Kansas City Star

Nanking bombards you with words and images of acts too barbaric to fully absorb.

Full Review… | February 28, 2008
Let's Not Listen

Nanking is a sometimes clumsy and sometimes artistically flawed documentary but in the end it presents a powerful account of what happened in Nanking at the end of 1937 and beginning of 1938.

February 3, 2008
KPBS.org

A brutal introduction to events that should be better known.

Full Review… | February 1, 2008
St. Paul Pioneer Press

A handsome documentary on a brutal subject, Nanking delves into the 1937 Japanese invasion of China and the atrocities committed in the attack...

Full Review… | January 31, 2008
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A harrowing look at how war takes its terrible toll on the innocent.

Full Review… | January 24, 2008
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Even as history changes to accommodate current needs and frameworks, it's crucial to remember those who lived it.

Full Review… | January 17, 2008
PopMatters

Highlights both the best and the worst that humanity has to offer.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for Nanking

Straightforward and to the point, this documentary on the seldom heard Nanking atrocities is as intelligent as it is well made.

Dillon Lupky
Dillon Lupky

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Nanking" is a devastating documentary about the 1937 occupation and rape of Nanking(it is estimated there were 20,000 rapes in the first month) by the Japanese army.(I had heard this event mentioned on occasion but never seen it documented with this level of detail.) A group of Westerners stayed past the evacuations on a mission of mercy, setting up a safety zone in an attempt to save as many civilians as they can.(They saved as many as 250,000 people.) Among their number, were a group of Americans and one Nazi businessman, John Rabe.(On the one hand, Rabe being a part of this courageous humanitarian mission is beyond irony. But his petitiioning his government for help does present new evidence into the debate of what the German people knew and when did they know it.) Of particular concern were former Chinese troops who were being summarily executed and of course any women.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]Along with archival and newswreel footage, interviews with Chinese survivors and Japanese soldiers involved in the atrocities, the movie has actors including Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway, Jurgen Prochnow, Chris Mulkey, Rosalind Chao, Stephen Dorff, and Mark Valley read testimony from the observers straight to the camera.(They felt that if their testimony could be heard by the outside world, then pressure could be applied to stop the atrocities, especially by the Japanese public but it does not seem likely since they were stirred into a militaristic and patriotic fervor by their dictatorial government.) It does take a little while to get used to this technique but it is as effective as everything else in this superb antiwar film. [/font]

Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

½

Talking-head format robs actions both harrowing and heroic of their full impact.

wbgoose13
William Goss

Super Reviewer

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