Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Sacrifice [赵氏孤儿] (2010 movie) » User review

The Physician's Revenge

  • Feb 11, 2011

It’s a new movie (2010) but an ancient story akin to the birth of Christ. This one happened around Yuan Dynasty, where the chancellor (Zhao clan) and the general (Tu) who are somewhat not on good terms had one of them plotted to kill the other by first murdering the duke (supposedly the ruler then) and blaming that murder onto the Zhao family. The entire Zhao family was ultimately killed with a baby left to be saved by the physician Zheng (also acting in the role of bringing the baby to this world) who then brought up the kid in preparation for a revenge because his son was killed by general Tu. The story also mentioned that all babies that were born in that city was searched and captured to force the parties concerned (the physician family & the family friend) to surrender the baby. Otherwise, all babies would have been killed if the said baby was not found. Sound familiar, isn’t it?

What is spectacular in this movie is that the scriptwriter and director found a new angle to tell an old story. I was totally surprised at how interesting it had been, especially when many Chinese film's plots have become so stale these days that I either found it a stack of BS or after just 20 mins of the movie one’ll know how it’d progress to the end! Ge You is the main lead in this one, as with the focus of characters. The main story (plot) became minor and simply a backbone to showcase and portray the emotions and motivations of the characters. It is a movie that’s not concentrating on hate but more on how each character has a part to play and a role to fulfill. For those familiar with Chinese actors and actresses, you'll also find it refreshing that famous stars are acting supporting roles but these are roles that the director has focused his screenplay on instead.

Some very touching scenes come from minor characters like the servants of the family who risked their lives to save their master while they were being pursued by the enemy. It tells of a time where loyalty is highly prized and ingrained in people (especially the subordinates). It also reflected the big gap between cruelty and kindness in humans. While we know how the story will eventually end (more or less), it is very refreshing to watch a new way of storytelling. On many occasions in this movie I found myself wondering how the movie will progress. It all aroused my curiosity as to how each character will evolved. To say that this movie is engaging is not an overstatement. Credits should be given to all parties concerned. It’s been a long while since I found an old story highly stimulating. That is a big accomplishment for the Chinese film industry and credit is due to the director Chen Kaige who both direct and script write this movie!
For those who are not familiar with the Chinese way of storytelling, I think you’ll find it refreshing even if you watched some of the older movies. Yet, for those who frequent the Chinese cinemas, you’ll lose interest after a year or two generally. There are just too many craps out there. I’m glad to say this one is not one that anyone should miss. If you’ve not heard of Ge You, he’s one of the most popular actors now in the Chinese film industry. He’s not good looking nor suave, but he’s certainly versatile in his roles. A very good actor too! Although I am not a fan of his, I do think he has his reasons for success. It seems that he’s the darling of the movie industry in both China and Hong Kong this year! There are at least 3 movies that he has lead roles in this Chinese New Year! That’s quite a spectacular performance for an actor with so many talents around!

Just some trivia about the story background. It is a play from the Yuan Dynasty which titled Orphan of Zhao. It is also the first Chinese play known in Europe back then in 1735. The main story is based on Emperor Zhao who as betrayed by one of his generals. It revolves around saving the bloodline of the family and seeking a revenge and regaining the empire ultimately. This movie is based on the play that has been revised by many Europeans.

The Physican & The Orphan The Physican & The Orphan

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
February 13, 2011
Excellent review as always, I don't have this one it seems.
February 15, 2011
It's worth the time :-)
February 11, 2011
Now that is what I am talking about! Chen Kaige is one great filmmaker as long as it is a genre that he is well-equipped to do such a film. My contacts had mentioned this to me, and I am glad you reviewed it! Thanks! :)
February 15, 2011
I think you'll like it!
More Sacrifice [赵氏孤儿] (2010 movie) reviews
review by . September 11, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
How Justified Can One Be To Exact Such Vengeance?
Acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige reached international fame with “Farewell My Concubine” and despite his somewhat misfire with “The Promise” (one of the most expensive Chinese films ever made), his talent still spoke volumes when it comes to weaving tales of tragedy with high art. “Sacrifice” is Kaige’s return to form. Successfully blending themes of honor, betrayal, irony and tragic revenge under some Shakespearean overtones and intense action.   …
review by . August 02, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         The premise of Sacrifice does not sit well with me, but then again, perhaps that was the intention. Taking place in ancient China, it tells the melodramatic story of a man who uses his adopted son as a means to seek restitution of the death of his biological son; on the basis of the movie’s emotional and fatalistic ending, it’s quite possible that the film was supposed to be broadly moralistic in much the same way as fairy tales or other …
Quick Tip by . August 24, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
After his somewhat misfire "The Promise", director Chen Kaige returns to form with "Sacrifice". Somewhat Shakespearean in themes and then  becomes somewhat cerebral, the film takes off as it takes situations over scale.      Ge You comes out with an outstanding performance while Wang Xueqi is both detestable and sympathetic as T'uan. This is the kind of film whose characters and situations drive its story and what comes out is a truly engaging …
About the reviewer
Sharrie ()
Ranked #3
I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this movie


Sacrifice is a 2010 Chinese historical drama film directed by Chen Kaige. The film is based on the Yuan Dynasty play Orphan of Zhao.

The story is set in the Jin state during the Spring and Autumn Period of ancient China. The chancellor Zhao Dun and his son, general Zhao Shuo, have a rift with general Tu Angu. Tu secretly murders the duke with poison and pushes the blame to the Zhao family, using that as an excuse to massacre the entire Zhao clan of about 300 people. The only survivor is Zhao Shuo's baby son Zhao Wu, born to the duke's older sister Princess Zhuang. Zhuang pleads with Tu Angu's subordinate Han Jue to spare her child and commits suicide after entrusting Zhao Wu to the physician Cheng Ying, telling Cheng to bring the child to Gongsun Chujiu, a friend of the Zhao family. When Tu Angu learns that the orphan had escaped, he slashes his sword at Han Jue's face in anger, disfiguring him. Subsequently, Tu issues orders to seal the gates and to gather all newborn babies in the city. The ploy was to identify the Zhao orphan since Tu was counting on those hiding the baby(Cheng) to not hand him over; hence singling out the one baby left in the city to be the Zhao infant.

Cheng Ying brings the baby Zhao Wu home, but alas, his wife gives up the child to the searching soldiers, claiming Zhao Wu as her own son. Cheng then asks Gongsun Chujiu to bring his wife and son ...

view wiki


Director: Kaige Chen
Genre: Drama, History
Release Date: 18 December 2010 (China)
First to Review
© 2015 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since