Review by Zandro Salvo.
Lust, Caution is an intricately woven exploration of lust, love, and loyalty. Ang Lee’s highly anticipated latest offering is a well crafted look into the powers of attraction. Tang Wei’s debut performance forges her atop today’s young actors as she plays Chia Chi, a young girl who sacrifices herself for her patriotic beliefs. Lee meticulously crafts the corruption of youth through pre-World War II Shanghai as we see Chia Chi transform from aspiring actress to femme fatale. The film begins as Chia Chi joins an overly patriotic school play to capture the eye of its passionate director. As she becomes captivated by his dedication to China, Chia Chi soon finds herself in the midst of an assassination attempt against a Japanese collaborator named Mr. Lee, played hauntingly by Tony Leung. While Chia Chi and her makeshift collaborator’s miss their assassination attempt, they end up murdering another traitor and we soon realize the true horrors of war as the kids must come to grips with the killing of another human being. After some years pass, Chia Chi is again recruited by her college director to again attempt the assassination of Mr Lee. However, the innocent director has now become a key member of the Chinese resistance and trains Chia Chi to become a full-fledged spy. As Chia Chi captures her enemy’s heart, we begin to realize that it is Chia Chi who has become captivated by her victim’s allure. Lee’s attention to detail in both the stunning visuals and smart dialogue allow the viewer to submerge themselves in his world of dual identities and fickle loyalties. While this film runs over two and a half hours, every scene - from explicit sexual encounter to playful mahjong game - masterfully illustrates the frailties and strength of both the femme fatale and the war conspirator. Lee has indeed upped the anti from his last Oscar offering, Brokeback Mountain.
Ang Lee | USA/Taiwan | 2007 | 158min
Wed. Oct. 3 | 9:15pm | Empire Granville Theatre
Fri. Oct. 5 | 3:30pm | Empire Granville Theatre