Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lust, Caution

Lust, Caution (Ang Lee, 2007) [5]

While visually arresting at times and precisely crafted by Lee, there are just too many moments in Lust, Caution that miss the correct mark that makes it comes across as stuffy and dull at too many moments. The word I keep thinking of to describe this film is hermetic, as in sealed. Everything is nice to look at, thanks to Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography, but it all feel cased in like a museum piece. As such, it's too hard for the viewer to really immerse themselves in the world of the film and all too often stuck admiring the film and not getting much out of it. It's a testament to Lee's abilities as a director to be able to at least craft a splendid looking film even though the story and characters don't really help him out much. The crux of the film is centered on the relationship between Mr. Yee (Tony Leung), the cautious government official and Wong (a good but not great Wei Tang), a secret agent for the Chinese resistance. The problem is the film takes way too long to get to the biggest moments of their relationship and the plot. Once they get there, the emotional timbre of the film feels off, again due to the hermetic nature of the film. The rigid look and setting of the film allow for no effective emotions to really get in between the two and when the film attempts to really make its moments, they feel fairly lackluster. Even someone with a good grasp on filmmaking as Ang Lee cannot get enough out of the characters. That idea hinges on the sexual nature of the relationship and of course, the sex scenes, which for me feel neither that necessary or erotic. The film just doesn't have enough of a variety of things: emotion, eroticism, historical exposition to make it work no matter how good it looks.

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