Sunday, January 11, 2009

LUST, CAUTION (Ang Lee, 2007, China) This is the film the schmaltzy BLACK BOOK tried to be and failed miserably. Ang Lee’s film is chock full of LUST with a dollop of CAUTION! He delivers a rock solid piece of storytelling whose circular structure keeps us riveted; from the shifty-eyed opening moments to the fatal attraction climax. We find ourselves cornered and confused much like the young revolutionaries whose idealistic attitudes are fodder for those faceless men above them. Tony Leung is excellent and plays the razor’s edge: at once an unlikable traitor and sadist but with a vulnerable flair. His characterization is the important link that makes this film work and he does it with a violent gentleness and sublime grace…why isn’t he nominated for an Oscar? The cinematography is excellent as we experience WW2 era Shanghai in subdued colors and grand widescreen vistas; Lee’s attention to period detail is amazing. The camerawork is also amazing as the director moves the frame and our attention without choppy edits or flash cuts; much like the natural movement of the human eye. BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was great but he reaches new heights with this modern masterpiece. CAVEAT: The language is fast and furious so be prepared to read the subtitles quickly; definitely would benefit from a second viewing! (A+)

No comments: