Lust, Caution

2008-11-04 09:47
What it's about:

A young Chinese woman, Wong Chia Chi (Tang Wei), living in Shanghai during the Japanese occupation, is recruited into a patriotic drama group at university. Excited by the response of local audiences, the group decides to take their acting to the next political level, using the attractive Wong to seduce Mr. Yee (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), a high ranking official in the puppet government of Wang Jingwei. But things become more complicated than the group anticipated and Wong is forced to choose between her love for her country and her love for the traitor that is Mr. Yee.

What we thought of it:

Set in 1930s/1940s China, when the People's Republic was occupied by the Japanese and ruled by the Wang Jingwei government, Lust, Caution is a story of patriotism, passion and betrayal.

Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [2000], Brokeback Mountain [2005]) showcases his versatility and cinematic genius in this film, but judging by media reports, his masterpiece has been overshadowed by a mere 10 minutes of graphic sex and nudity.

God forbid anyone should have sex on screen or that a filmmaker should treat his audience like adults. Never mind the gripping performance by newcomer Tang Wei or the encapsulating musical score of Alexandre Desplat (The Painted Veil [2006], The Queen [2006], The Golden Compass [2007]). To hell with the attention to detail in makeup and costume designs, as well as the breathtaking recreation of 1930s/1940s China.

While we're at it, discount the character development, the emotional conflict, the rich culture and the strength of a story of a woman who uses her very own society's tools of oppression to her advantage. Disregard the historical value of the film and its uncanny ability to take you into the world and psyches of the once repressed and now grand People's Republic of China.

Who can concentrate on anything else when there's full frontal nudity?! What is the world coming to?

- Natalie Sineke

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In WWII China a patriotic group of drama students plot a political assassination, using lust as their weapon of choice.

Romilly de Buck 2008/07/17 9:07 AM
correction small correction - if you are talking about Mainland China - it's called the People's Republic of China (Republic of China refers to Taiwan)
Michael 2008/07/19 1:05 PM
PRC "Set in 1930s/1940s China, when the People's Republic was occupied..." The People's Republic of China did not exist until 1949. As for Romilly de Buck's comment, the the Republic of China is indeed the correct name for mainland China in the period the film takes place in. The Republic of China on the mainland was replaced by the PRC in 1949, and the government moved to Taiwan, making Taiwan the last refuge of the "Republic of China".
Kim 2008/08/13 3:40 PM
Why? I am no prude but was it necessary to have them going gang-ho at it on screen - we all know about sex and if we wanted to watch someone have it we would get a porno - yes it detracted from the movie because it was not necessary to show it so graphically - it got the attention (though negative) it was put in there to thing someone having a crap will be seen as an important part of their character development - just as gross.
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