The Chinese drama “Empire of Silver” brings excitement and intensity to viewers as they watch history, action and drama work together in the film.The film is set in China’s Shanxi province, 1899. This was a pivotal point in Chinese history when modernity began to rise in spite of the Qing Dynasty’s struggle to maintain power.

Aaron Kwok stars as Third Master, the new heir to the banking empire of his father, Master Kang.  Resistant to his father’s harsh way of ruling, Third Master must adapt to his new power, which lays in contrast to his sensitive personality.

“Empire of Silver” covers an economic turning point in history that is fairly reminiscent of the current Occupy Wall Street movement.

As civilians rebel against the Third Master and his family, the intensity and brutality of this historical period is graphically evident. Violence, as well as battle scenes, illustrate how much physical brutality marked the revolt that would draw the line between two separate eras in Chinese history.

While the dialogue and action bring excitement to the film, the cinematography is one of the most, if not the most, noteworthy elements in the film. Shooting the film in 13 different cities, director Christina Yao makes the most of a tight budget with incredible scenery and camera work.

Besides the historical elements of the film, drama within the empire stays central with tragic events, father-and-son conflicts and love affairs. Third Master constantly tries to keep his identity separate from his father’s, which creates a struggle between the two throughout the whole movie.

Third Master falls in love with his beautiful stepmother, played by Hao Lei, amplifying the tension between Third Master and his father. The love affair plot line keeps the film from being overwhelmed with violence or history.  It also brings emotion to the movie, drawing viewers more into the characters’ lives.

Yao gives viewers a glimpse of China during the Qing Dynasty in a detailed manner, which makes the big theater experience even more enjoyable.