Sadly, the Japanese didn't play fair during the Rape of Nanjing — and it's only a matter of time before they start creeping in, hell-bent on defying the House of God and deflowering the innocence of the young ladies contained therein. It is then that Miller realizes he just might have some sort of other purpose for being there, and he assumes the identity of the church's resident priest — waiting for the opportunity to smuggle the girls out of Nanjing like the godsend he apparently is.
Mind you, it only takes him two-and-a-half hours of screen time to get there. During that period, director Zhang Yimou graciously develops his main characters (Bale, Ni Ni, et al), though it's mostly the youngsters who you'll garner any sympathy or respect for. Frankly, Bale's character is quite a tool to begin with, and by the time he finally decides to grow a protecting pair later in the film, you can only loathe him that much more for not upping the ante any sooner. That said, though, Yimou constructs a fairly adept (if overly pretentious) production overall with this adaptation of Geling Yan's 13 Flowers of Nanjing.
But be warned, boys and girls: the harrowing scene wherein the bad guys storm the church and literally drag the girls around by their hair is most definitely not something most people will be comfortable seeing. Lionsgate brings us this lengthy wartime drama to Blu-ray with a stellar a/v presentation, and a five-part making-of feature and trailer accompanying. The movie is presented in a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Mandarin/English soundtrack. Yes, there's a lot of dialogue spoken in Mandarin, folks: this is a Chinese film after all.