This film is often classified as a horror film (most likely because it contains some of the most gruesome footage in cinematic history). Though that may work to sell the product, in some sense this is an injustice to what the director meant to achieve. If only the subject matter was the stuff of fantasy. This bold and utterly uncompromising film unveils the real life horrors of the Nanking Massacre. It describes the real life nightmare through the eyes of two young brothers who witness the brutal murders of their parents. While trying to escape with their uncle, they get separated and have to struggle for survival on their own. The story line is peppered generously with actual film footage and historic photographs. Yes, some of the images of slaughter are unbelievable. The average viewer would even expect to see violence of this kind.
This film is intentionally difficult to watch because it is infinitely depressing to be reminded that mankind can be capable of such evil. The purpose behind these shocking images of bloody torture, rape, and murder teaches that war is often an excuse to entertain man's sordid impulses without reservation. Many believe the true scale of this event has since been minimized. Other nations have done this when they were later embarrassed by their own senseless violence during wartime. The director succeeds in making it impossible for anyone to sweep the atrocities at Nanking under the carpet. An incredible film, for the very brave.