It took me a long time to get into this film. But as the story of espionage unfolded and the beautiful girl's role became clear I admired the intrigue as it unfolded. Like most foreign films it took a long time to unfold.
An exquisite movie that really grabbed me. In contrast to some other comments below I thought it was quite intense. Its length was not a problem for me, and neither were the subtitles. I thought the sex scenes were absolutely necessary to provide at least some explanation of the disconcerting, and at least in my case unexpected ending.
Chinese movie with English subtitles. Contains some extra features (interviews with the actors and the director). Dark movie, with scenes of violence and brutality. On the other hand the costumes are a pleasure to look at: silk dresses, diamond rings, hats, nylon stockings with a seam, etc. Beauty and brutality, in one movie.
By the time I got to the end of this movie, I was quite over it. A bit slow for my liking.
This movie is a visual feast with every scene exquisitely crafted, however, you miss this a bit whilst reading the subtitles. The story unfolds slowly but tantalisingly as the tension builds. I certainly wouldn't call this a sensual movie, as the relationship between the two main characters is more about domination than passion. We are not given any information about the feelings of the woman to the man, so it is hard to understand why she takes the decisions that she does. Also the ending is bit dissatisfying as it leaves some questions unanswered. It's definitely not a romantic film, but worth seeing.
Well played, believable story, enjoyed watching it!
An intriguing movie. Interesting but sad.
This is a movie for the eyes. Firstly it is visually very nicely done in terms of catching the era and also the technical balance of colours. Secondly, more importantly the level of communication between the characters is so expressive that the fact that you are reading subtitles and outside out of the culture perhaps not enjoying the full contextual experience. Perhaps the in film references to old black and white movies alludes to this.
Historically it is a film about a terrible time in China's history and the tragic ending (hinted at but not portrayed in the film) and timed to the clock is a masterful approach well delivered.
Overall enjoyable for reasons other than the publicity it got
Brilliant acting but depressing and uncomfortable viewing.
You need to be in the mood for this one because it is long and has a slow build up. It is however, worth the effort. Cinematography and the slow burn of actors and script make for a truly great movie experience. It helps to know the history behind the story too.
Brace yourself for some intense dialog in the first 40 minutes. And so with subtitles its fairly hard going, with little time for the eye to move away from the text. Just as I was about to give up, the love story emerges and the film really takes off in true Ang Lee style. He's a director focused on the human experience. As a result the scenes of very real sex are not superfluous or smutty. Instead they illustrate a lusty and dangerous relationship taking place in a Japanese occupied China on the eve of social change.
Excellent film, but sex scenes are explicit and subtitle work poor. Other than that I found the story and filming very high quality.
Oh this is a fabulous return to form from Ang Lee. The film looks beautiful and the costumes especially worn by the women are out of this world! Tang Wei is a brave little actress. She holds her own against the vastly more experienced Tony Leung and Joan Chen. The erotic scenes are handled really well by both director and stars and aren't stuck in there for no reason. This is a romantic, thriller par excellence!
I really enjoyed this film and yes the sex scenes are very explicit and erotic.
In parts I found the subtitles were not on the screen long enough to read but all in all a good film.
Wonderful, brilliant and beautiful. Holds your interest for every minute
This is a looong movie. Would have liked more emphasis on the younger characters rather than the main elder one. Beautifully filmed. Good if you're in a serious, contemplative mood - Hollywood blockbuster this is not.
Not great but a good watch if you're a sub-title-reader.
This movie took a while to get into however it was well worth persevering because the intensity of the performances stayed with me for days. It was interesting to see how westernised Hong Kong and China were during the second World War. So much was conveyed without any words at all. Highly recommended
Didn't hold my interest enough to get past the first 40 minutes. I found it predictable and posed.
Moving and powerful story, lavish sets and likeable stars.
Absorbing thriller. Woody Allen recently said in an interview that, although he is opposed to all forms of censorship, he never includes graphic sex or violence in his films and doesn't feel it is necessary. Those words came to mind while watching this. Such graphic and violent sexual depictions for me detracted from this and were unnecessary. Other than that the acting and cinematography were enthralling.
I know this to be a Great movie, very hard to keep up with the subtitles though, Sex scenes look to be Real.
A beautiful and emotionally charging love story! The sex scenes were definitely raunchy but they werent what made the movie memorable. The acting was fantastic, the musical score sensational, and the screenplay Oscar-worthy. I absolutely loved it. Watch it two times coz the second time is better!
Was expecting something "mind blowing" having read so many rave reviews about this film. The acting was excellent by both male and lead actors, and hats off to them for filming some of the sex scenes. The film was pretty slow to establish and dragged on - give it 45mins and the the intrigue really begins. Worth a look if nothing else available.
One of the very best movies I've seen in a long time - completely engaging. You don't fully appreciate the power of the title until you've seen it. Another superb Ang Lee movie.
Wong is a first-year university student in Hong Kong whose family was trapped in England at the start of World War 2. A friend persuades her to join a patriotic group of students putting on plays to stir up anti-Japanese fervour. They become more active and start to regard themselves as resistance fighters. When they hear of a visit to Hong Kong by a Mr Lee, a high-ranking Chinese collaborator from Shanghai, they hatch a plot to kill him. The attractive, but naive, Wong, is persuaded to lure him away from the tight security of his household and bodyguards and become his mistress. She is given the persona of Mrs Mak, wife of a successful businessman and enthusiastic shopper. She manages to meet Mrs Lee casually out shopping and is eventually invited to her home where Mr Lee notices her with guarded approval. During a game of Mah-Jong with Mrs Lee, she is able to leave him a note to pick up with her telephone number. He later phones her and a meeting is arranged. So far everything has gone according to plan. Wei Tang, as Wong, in her first feature film, is on camera almost continuously and slips into the two roles as if made for her. But one wonders if her part in the rape scene was really necessary. Other directors have managed to convey sexual violence without the need to demean the woman. One wonders for whose enjoyment it was staged. The English subtitles are of a poor standard. Two lines of dialogue are often whipped away in a couple of seconds. A reasonably good crime thriller with a bit of pornography thrown in at the end.
A very good movie. I confess that I was curious and somewhat hesitant that this would be another "Crouching Tiger" type of Asian genre, but I was pleasantly surprised. Some very fine acting by all the characters. Sure the sex scenes are graphic (but would the same degree of susprise have been expressed by the critics if it was a Western-made film?), but they actually show the characters and their changes in emotion as the story develops. Ang Lee exhibits a daring and uncompromising resolve to show what has to be shown to make the story relevant and real.
If you're going to watch this movie for the lust, it's a long wait - but worth waiting for. The caution is evident throughout and makes this a very absorbing movie. Certainly one of the best in Chinese. But watch the bonus feauture to be surprised that all the key actors can speak English.
Worth Watching - I like the school play. The rest of it is a bit slow and depressing.
A very profound, moving, erotic and romantic film. A must see