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Sacrifice (2012)

tomatometer

54

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 6

No consensus yet.

audience

52

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 1,854

My Rating

Movie Info

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

R,

Drama

$27.9k

Samuel Goldwyn Films - Official Site External Icon

Cast

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (7)

With its widescreen compositions and flame-illuminated interiors, "Sacrifice" is visually entrancing. Yet the movie is not just an exercise in style.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is handsomely done and well-acted, but it lacks real energy or purpose.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Now who exactly are those two guys slurping noodles? Are they both doctors? Why do they matter?

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Both a thrilling swordplay epic as well as an intimate chamber drama about clashing filial loyalties.

July 27, 2012 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

The visuals from Chen and his crew are striking.

July 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

The master's touch is evident throughout a carefully calibrated drama that builds to a shocking tragedy.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: honeycuttshollywood.com
honeycuttshollywood.com

Chinese film fans will be intrigued by a shift to more human, less spectacle-based storytelling.

July 26, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

There are some wonderful wuxia-style fight scenes spread throughout, and a last duel finally shifts all the plodding backstory into a visual spectacle.

July 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

A widowed father grooms his son to be a killer in a sweeping drama set in fifth-century B.C. China.

July 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A historical melodrama that retains an ancient, elemental pull even as it insufficiently charts motivation and the self-denying values of antiquity.

July 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Techs are terrific, from costume to cinematography, giving the film a lovely look.

July 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Kaige Chen reaches back in time to tell another story of a child's relation to his father as well as his place in history. Featuring a grounding performance from You as the adoptive parent, "Sacrifice" is at once both epic and intimate.

July 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

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. :)
October 6, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

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.
December 27, 2013
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Sacrifice (Zhao shi gu er) (DE)
  • Sacrifice (Zhao shi gu er) (UK)
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