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View All Empire of Silver News
All Critics (16)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (9)
| Rotten (7)
What, if anything, the film's final burst of idealism offers universally is hard to say. But it feels good to see in these acrimonious days.
Though written too broadly to serve as the powerful allegorical tale writer/director Christina Yao intends, this historical epic is just compelling enough to be taken on its own terms.
Occasionally muddled and always melodramatic, yet it's pictorially compelling, thanks to dramatic locations and exacting art direction.
Makes for unwieldy melodrama, rather than the enthralling epic it might have been.
[A] weirdly engaging tale of banking and bad behavior...
Epic in sweep and scale and packs in enough incident to cover two "Godfather" movies.
A story with all the elements of a good "Shakespearean" drama... [Full review in Spanish]
Unwieldy Chinese melodrama shows money can't buy love.
The complicated romance that punctuates the story adds spice (and a twist), but it's a film essentially about the banking family and their machinations at a time of rapid change in China
High production values, gorgeous sets and costumes, excellent lighting and cinematography, plus the spirited playing of Aaron Kwok as the Third Master.
Handsome Chinese costume actioner mixing power struggles, financial crises and romance a century ago may impress American audiences, but story overkill and subtleties of Chinese culture and history confound.
A beautiful but stolid, screamingly boring period piece with acting so wooden as to invite unfavorable comparison to a collection of popsicle sticks.
In "Empire of Silver," business is good for Master Kang(Tielin Zhang) and his banking empire, even with Manager Qui(Zhicheng Ding) being fired for embezzlement. On the personal side, there is the wedding of Kang's son, Fourth Master, who goes on his honeymoon with his new bride. And then everything hits the fan. By the time the smoke clears, the bride is dead, along with a couple of other people, Second Master is seriously wounded and Fourth Master has a nervous breakdown. That leaves Third Master(Aaron Kwok) having to take responsibility for once in his life.
"Empire of Silver" is set at the time of Boxer Rebellion, involving a banking dynasty and all the soap opera that goes along with that. That's more than enough material for a ten hour miniseries, much less a two hour movie like this one. So, it is no surprise that some of this story feels rushed and fractured at times. But as long as the movie remains clear about showing how one cannot be in total control of the future no matter how much one tries to manipulate events, then all is well, especially considering the handsome production.
Too episodic, which makes it hard to follow the story. Too many times I had no idea what was going on. Too much material to cram into just one movie. With so many characters, it's often hard to tell them apart. Great potential, but falls short. Not terrible, just not great.
Impressive visuals and great production design are unfortunately overshadowed by a convoluted plot that struggles to depict its story - a narrative that starts strong but deteriorates as it attempts to balance too many emotional stakes for its own good while including one (or two) too many scenes that unintentionally call attention to itself. This debut feature, however, shows promise for writer/director Christina Yao as it consists of stunning locations and sweeping camera moves and proves that she is not afraid to touch upon tough subject matters that are rather difficult to film.
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