While hordes of fan boys and girls eagerly await Christian Bale's return to summer blockbusters with The Dark Knight Rises, the daring actor, who made Batman a gravel-voiced brooder, painted an entirely different portrait of heroism in Zhang Yimou's awe-inspiring war drama The Flowers of War. Here Bale plays John Miller, a self-centered American who, in search of easy money, but finds himself in the midst of the infamous Nanking Massacre, where Japanese troops invaded, slaughtered, and raped countless Chinese civilians. Repulsed by the cruelty and inhumanity he witnesses, Miller is spurred to become the self-appointed protector of a cluster of young girls who've made the local church their sanctuary. Along the way, he also falls for one of the gorgeous courtesans who have claimed the church's basement as their hiding place. Their unlikely romance urges both to heights of bravery neither had ever thought possible.

In this clip from Yahoo, the gravity of what Miller has taken on finally dawns on him when Mr. Meng (Kefan Cao), who became a traitor to try to save his daughter from the hands of the Japanese soldiers, entrusts the well being of his child to this stranger from abroad. This is his effort to give Miller the tools he needs to get the girls out of harm's way.

Crafted by master filmmaker Zhang Yimou, The Flowers of War takes the plotline of Yan Geling's tearjerker novel The 13 Women of Nanjing and makes it a glorious yet gut-wrenching cinematic experience, packed with brutal violence and unforgettable moments of tenderness. Yimou deftly weaves together images of graphic gore with elements of glittery beauty to create a war drama that beautifully unfolds how the atrocities of war can inspire the very best of human virtues.

The Flowers of War is now open in limited release.

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