A story of epic revenge, Sacrifice focuses on a power hungry general who wipes out his rival along with his entire family, save for one newborn. The infant is protected by the doctor who delivered him and raises him as his own, hoping to mold him into his own instrument of retribution. -- (C) Samuel Goldwyn
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Critics Consensus: The Watch Falls Down On the Job
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Critic Reviews for Sacrifice
With its widescreen compositions and flame-illuminated interiors, "Sacrifice" is visually entrancing. Yet the movie is not just an exercise in style.
It is handsomely done and well-acted, but it lacks real energy or purpose.
Perhaps it's all that armor, or that even the estimable Mr. Wang seems exhausted by the film's dolorous themes, but it's tough to care about characters who spend most of their lives obsessing over the violent deaths of others.
Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine) cowrote and directed, and his talent for psychological drama isn't really suited to this sort of broad, mythic storytelling.
It charges out of the gate in Indiana Jones style, employing so many plot twists that you may need a scorecard. Then after an hour or so, it settles into an intimate, character-driven drama, before its low-key yet thought-provoking finale.
Now who exactly are those two guys slurping noodles? Are they both doctors? Why do they matter?
Both a thrilling swordplay epic as well as an intimate chamber drama about clashing filial loyalties.
The master's touch is evident throughout a carefully calibrated drama that builds to a shocking tragedy.
Chinese film fans will be intrigued by a shift to more human, less spectacle-based storytelling.
There are some wonderful wuxia-style fight scenes spread throughout, and a last duel finally shifts all the plodding backstory into a visual spectacle.
A widowed father grooms his son to be a killer in a sweeping drama set in fifth-century B.C. China.
A historical melodrama that retains an ancient, elemental pull even as it insufficiently charts motivation and the self-denying values of antiquity.
Techs are terrific, from costume to cinematography, giving the film a lovely look.
Audience Reviews for Sacrifice
A heart-wrenching, and brilliant story, with incredible acting. For drama lovers, not action lovers...even though there was plenty enough of that for me, too. I had no idea that this was directed by the same man (Kaige Chen) that was responsible for The Emperor and the Assassin, and Farewell My Concubine...both excellent movies. No wonder I enjoyed this so much. :)More
To make a long story short, Tu Angu(Xueqi Wang) pulls off the perfect murder by not only murdering the grand councillor and getting away with it, but also framing the Zhao clan, condemning every last one of them to death. That is with the exception of the one just delivered by Cheng Ying(You Ge). In the following confusion, that baby gets confused with Cheng's. After which, Cheng's wife, son and a couple of other people die but the infant Xhao makes it out of there alive, as Cheng raises him as his own, waiting for the day when he can tell him the truth.
To its credit, "Sacrifice" seeks to intelligently explore such important themes as loyalty, family and identity in a handsomely produced format. So, it is a shame that the movie is so very awkwardly edited. First, there is the set-up that pretty much goes on forever, with its focus on soon-to-be irrelevant details of court politics and even might double back on itself at one point. And then after that, the movie just sort of sits there, endlessly dragging towards its obviously painful conclusion and therefore wasting any kind of dramatic potential in the bargain.
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