Maybe the color palette confines itself to a too small range of gray but it is effective. Maybe a few scenes are overly dramatized for effect but I can hardly imagine anything comparing to the real events that transpired. This isn't a documentary and it's not a perfect film but it is an incredibly moving one. There was a bit of an uproar in China over this film, claiming it did not demonize the Japanese enough. A member of the Politburo intervened on behalf of the film to keep it in theaters. There's that to chew on. I honestly can't separate recommending the film from recommending being aware of this ugly bit of history. You could just read a wikipedia entry on the Rape of Nanjing but you could also just watch Dr. Phil or Oprah instead of ever going to the movies. It's like that.