The Children of Huang Shi
In 1937, an English reporter (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) in China to cover the Japanese invasion winds up in charge of a group of 60 war orphans, eventually leading them 700 miles to safety deep in the interior. The movie purports to tell a true story—the reporter, George Hogg, really lived, and his long trek really happened. But whatever the factual basis, Jane Hawksley and James MacManus’ script makes weak drama—disjointed, with too many clichés, anachronisms and cardboard characters. Still, the performances are good—besides Meyers (whose role is a bit too much of a plaster saint), there are Chow Yun Fat as a partisan guerrilla, Radha Mitchell as an American nurse and Michelle Yeoh as a sympathetic merchant. Xiaoding Zhao’s cinematography is splendid, Roger Spottiswoode’s direction is workmanlike.