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on 16 April 2011
A haunting piano theme by Alexandre Desplat gives an air of deep meditation throughout this film, directed by Ang Lee set in the second World War and illustrates the interplay between western and oriental cultures. Fortunately this is not a 'war film', but follows the fate of fictional characters from a story by Eileen Chang, based on actual events during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, in 1942.
A group of Chinese drama students led by Kuang Yu Min (Wang Leehom) descide to take their fate and that of their country into their own hands, and after involvement in various rallys come up with a daring plot to infiltrate the home of the occupying head of Japanese intelligence. They have to pose as a well off family with Chaffuer (using the money of one of their Fathers) to gain accepance into the confidence of Mr Yee's (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) social circle, and that of his wife Yee Taj Taj (Joan Chen). They play a symbolic traditional game of Majong, a kind of dominoes over tea. Beautiful student Wang Jiazhi (Tang Wei) has to become Mr Yee's lover as they still can not get close enough to him for an assassination attempt. His police and bodyguards are ever present.
Uncompromising in crushing resistance, and uncompromising sexually, Yee surprises Wag Jiazi with his sadistic urgency. After being wined and dined and increasing sexual encounters, Wang Jiazhi loses sight of the original plan and falls in love. Yee expresses his regard for her with an enormous diamond and saphire ring allowing his feelings to take precedence over caution. In a remarkable scene in the double agent undercover shop, she warns him of the trap and he runs for his life to his car. She in turn decides not to take her suicide pill, but face the firing squad, with her fellow conspirators, an honourable death.

This is a beautiful, erotic, and tense film on a location where Ang Lee recreates his roots in 1942 Shangai in every detail including street cars, and cafes. It has the uncompromising characterisation of 'Broke Back Mountain', with the electrifying drama of 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.' Mandarin is spoken throughout with subtitles in Castillian, or English, with bonus material of the cast and production team dicussing the making of the film. Highly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 December 2008
The story is exciting and heart-breaking by turns and by the end I felt drained but full of admiration as the film is a magnificent achievement for the director Ang Lee and the lead actors. It's on an epic scale with a tremendous amount of organization of street scenes depicting 1940s China. Having sub-titles didn't detract at all from the power of the film as the acting was so good it transcended language. There are quite a few torrid and explicit love-making scenes that enrich the understanding of the the characters. The few very violent episodes are all the more shocking and effective as they contrast with the rest of the film's more languid pace.
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on 6 July 2015
The story for this film is well pieced together and slots into place as the film goes on.
The cast all did an amazing job at the roles they were given .
Would recommend for anyone who appreciates historic drama and also anyone who can appreciate a good story and see past the parts that others are criticising.
Good postage nice and fast and well packaged.
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on 8 March 2016
Great for any Leung Chiu Wai fan. One of his more serious films, interesting story, good proper acting, get to see some flesh, a lot of flesh actually. The extras are quite interesting too, about the origins of the film and how things were at that time etc.
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on 8 February 2018
Love this movie, it was one of the first Asian movies I ever watched when it first came out.
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on 5 November 2011
Though its love-making scenes are over done it is a master piece.

A film which psychologically looking into love, lust and caution with a historic background.

Anyone who interested in its story background can find information about the history of Chinese assassins in late 19th to early 20th century. Also see hundred days reform and second Sino-Japanese War.

The assassins were mostly undergraduates and academics who in deep hate of corrupted government officials and weak leaders who signed unequal treaties with colonial foreign powers in order to gain personal power and advantage.

Tang Wei is outstanding, in my opinion.
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on 20 February 2011
This movie tells the story of both collaboration and resistance to the Japanese occupation of China. The story is quite basic yet the acting is excellent and gives a great flavour to the script. Seduction and betrayal are the themes running through the story and interestingly the DVD released in China is heavily edited to minimise the collaboration element.

Great movie which I will watch again.
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on 12 October 2015
Good oriental movie with subtitles. Picture quality was good, scenery good, casts and acting good with a few sex scenes, so all in all good at a
good reasonable price.
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on 16 November 2017
ok
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on 15 November 2014
Visually stunning and quite gripping, I sometimes recommend this to my friends as it captures China's youthful enthusiam amidst the terrible times during the Japanese invasion of China
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