Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: Nanking is a powerful reminder of the heartbreaking toll that war takes on the innocent, and a testament to the courage and conviction of a few individuals determined to act in the face of evil. The film tells the story of the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China in the early days of World War II and focuses on the efforts of a small group of unarmed Westerners who established a safety zone where over 200,000 Chinese found refuge. The events of the film are told through deeply moving interviews with Chinese survivors, archival footage, and the chilling testimonies of Japanese soldiers, interwoven with staged readings of the Westerners' letters and diaries as performed by Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway, Jurgen Prochnow, and Stephen Dorff, among others. (THINKFilm) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Not only is the film a powerful historical record and a warning for future generations, it is an essential reminder to people, including many in Japan today, who might deny that this massacre ever occurred. As such, Nanking honors the highest calling of documentary filmmaking.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    What Guttentag and Sturman gain in dramatic immediacy, however, they lose when it comes to historical context, and the chance to offer insight into why such things occur in the first place -- and continue to happen today -- is lost.
  3. Nanking, directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, does justice to this tragedy even though it makes the mistake of mixing the testimony of actual participants with staged readings from actors subbing for real people.
  4. 75
    Everyone knows about the Holocaust, but few today have heard about what was infamous as the Rape of Nanking, when 200,000 residents of what was then China's capital were massacred by invading Japanese troops.
  5. Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    75
    Whatever the numbers, testimony cited in Nanking portrays the episode as a horrifying chapter in man’s renowned inhumanity to man.
  6. Reviewed by: Jeremy Mathews
    70
    While at times the film begins to feel like a laundry list of bad deeds, the first-person accounts pack a wallop.
  7. Individually these elements are powerful, but they fail to mesh or collide with one another in any satisfying way, and the movie's score only exacerbates the problem.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3

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