Children of the Silk Road: Movie Review
Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Chow Yun Fat,
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
When a film's inspired by true events, there's always a nagging feeling that
it'll fall heavily into the dull but worthy category.
Roger Spottiswoode's Children of the Silk Road is the true story of a British
journalist George Hogg (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who conned his way
across the Chinese border during the Japanese occupation of 1937.
Despite being told of the dangers of doing so, Hogg gets through by
pretending to be the Red Cross.
However, within minutes, he witnesses a massacre and is caught, camera in
hand, by the Japanese.
Freed by Chen (Chow Yun Fat) a leader of a Chinese group, he's taken to a
monastery where he discovers around 60 orphaned boys and a travelling nurse, Lee
Tasked with the role of taking the kids under his wing, he grudgingly accepts
and ends up winning their respect and friendship.
But, as the occupation grows tighter, Hogg realises the only way to keep them
safe is to take them across the Liu Pan Shan mountains to a new life.
Children of the Silk Road isn't a bad epic - and epic it is, as it takes a
while to warm up after the initial brutality.
Rhys Meyers portrays Hogg well - making him initially selfish and reticent to
look after the orphans but ultimately gaining their respect (a la Robin Williams
in Dead Poets Society).
His relationship with Radha Mitchell's Lee is given time to build up and
develops a tenderness which makes the ending more plausible and heart breaking
for the pair.
Both Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat give the film more of a sense of reality
with their characters and there are some pretty harrowing moments during the
But there are a couple of lulls as we watch the orphans get ready to leave
although that's countered by the tension when the convoy's stopped close to the
Ultimately, the Children of the Silk Road is a film about a triumph over
adversity - however, some people will feel it borders more in the overly long
and dull but worthy category; some will find it inspiring - particularly at the
end when pupils of Hogg's teachings appear over the end credits to extol the
virtues of their former mentor.