City of Life and Death Synopsis
In December 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army laid siege to the Chinese capital of Nanjing.
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Critic Ratings

85
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100

San Francisco Chronicle

City of Life and Death, a stunning re-creation of the Japanese army's annihilation of Nanking in 1937, will make you flinch, even as you...
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100

The New York Times

By Manohla Dargis
City of Life and Death isn't cathartic: it offers no uplifting moments, just the immodest balm of art. The horrors it represents can be...
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100

Los Angeles Times

By Kenneth Turan
Harrowing and unflinching, a savage nightmare so consuming and claustrophobic you will want to leave but fear to go, City of Life and Death...
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90

Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
This is hardly a film to recommend as entertainment. As an act of remembrance, though, it is singular and, in its way, soaring.
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88

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Joe Williams
Both arduous and artful, City of Life and Death is the best imaginable movie about the genocidal siege that's now called the Rape of...
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88

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Steven Rea
Chuan's unsettlingly beautiful black-and-white, wide-screen account of those nightmare six weeks, re-creates that horror in ways that are...
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88

Boston Globe

By Wesley Morris
Here the Japanese senses of honor and of shame are particularly entangled. Later in the film, Lu mounts an Imperial Army parade through the...
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80

Empire

By Phil de Semlyen
Passionate and expertly crafted, this black-and-white opus is well worth seeking out.
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75

Washington Post

By Michael O'Sullivan
It's a muscular, physical movie, pieced together from arresting imagery and revelatory gestures, large and small.
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60

Time Out New York

By Joshua Rothkopf
The movie skips along episodically; it's not quite as sharp as a war narrative needs to be, even if its nightmarish psychology feels...
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