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A wartime spy thriller set in the Far East
on 27 July 2015
This is a stylish intriguing film noir thriller set in 1941 Shanghai, complete with accompanying voiceover. The Axis powers are at their zenith. The USA has yet to enter the war, Nazi Germany controls most of Europe, Japan has invaded China and its army terrorises the city. Into this powder-keg maelstrom John Cusack’s American spy Paul Soames arrives determined to find out who was responsible for the recent murder of his colleague and friend. Through his investigations we are introduced to the city’s complex political situation where the indigenous resistance movement, the local triads and the Japanese invaders all vie for control. Soames’ developing relationship with Li Gong’s femme fatale Anna dominates the film’s narrative as he willingly descends into the murky mire of the city’s underbelly in search of the truth. The cinematography is stunning and you definitely feel that this depiction of a place and time is accurate. I understand that the movie has never been released in the USA, which is probably why I had never known of its existence prior to reading these reviews. On reflection, not a film to buy but certainly one to watch.