Shanghai is on the cusp of being attacked by the Japanese during World War II, in the center is Jamie (Christian Bale), a young British boy living with his rich parents outside the city. When war descends over Shanghai, Jim is separated from them. He fends for himself and goes back to their empty mansion. Weeks go by and he goes into the city and sees it in ruins. There he meets two conniving Americans, Frank and Basie (John Malkovich). Jamie wants to stay with them, and tells them about his neighborhood and the mansions they can rob. When they get there, they are captured by the Japanese and taken to a prisoner camp. Years later, we find Jamie, now called "Jim," fully-settled in the camp. He arranges barters with many prisoners in exchange for favors or small items. Jim bears witness to beatings, deaths, and vicious behavior in the camp. When the camp and nextdoor airbase is attacked by American forces, Jim and the others are forced out, and start marching inland. They reach a stadium filled with lootings of the Japanese, soon in the distance an atomic bomb goes off. Jim goes back to the camp and lives there awhile. The death and devastation get to him until he is rescued by American soldiers. He is taken to an orphanage, now a shadow of his former self. His parents come by searching for him, and they are finally reunited.
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Best part of story, including ending:
It is a graphic depiction of war and its effects not only on people, but on a little boy who is forced to grow up.
Best scene in story:
When Jim is showed thriving in the camp, being resourceful with his bartering racket.
Opinion about the main character:
Jim is an arrogant spoiled brat who starts with no regard for anything, but later learns life lessons the hard way.