Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Caution: A Whole Lot of Lust; Lovers and Mortal Enemies: Tony Leung and Tang Wei in Lust, Caution

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Caution: A Whole Lot of Lust; Lovers and Mortal Enemies: Tony Leung and Tang Wei in Lust, Caution

Article excerpt

Byline: DEREK MALCOLM

Lust, Caution Cert 18 158 mins ...

YOU have to take a deep breath before entering the cinema to see Ang Lee'sChinese epic. There are three main reasons: the first is that it is the longestmovie this director has made, and for the most part the slowest and mostintricate; second, it contains a sequence of a bloody and botched stabbing thatcould have you ducking under your seats; and third is the sex.

This last is the element that people will inevitably remark upon, tending as itdoes towards sado-masochism and causing audiences at last autumn's VeniceFestival to ponder whether the pair were going at it for real. The speculationdrummed extra publicity for a film which, since it is in Mandarin, probablyneeds all the help it can get.

But take heart. That business only lasts 10 minutes or so towards the end ofthe film, and it does attempt to reveal more about its participants than wemight otherwise readily understand..

Moreover, Lust, Caution didn't win the Golden Lion at Venice for nothing. AngLee is an exceptional film-maker and the style is as impeccable as the controlis absolute. If the build-up is long and lingering, there is a purpose to it.

What we have is a drama which perfectly illustrates the fact that war is 90 percent boredom and 10 per cent hell.

The war in question is specifically between China and Japan and it splits itstime between Shanghai and Hong Kong during the years 1938 and 1942.

Wang (Tang Wei) is a traditional young Chinese woman who has become a warorphan and joins a patriotic theatre group largely because she fancies a youngactivist (Wang Lee-Hom) who is fighting against the Japanese occupation of HongKong. The group becomes increasingly subversive and begins to includeassassinations among its activities. Hence the stabbing.

Eventually, Wang is ordered to become the mistress of a highly placedcollaborator (Tony Leung). But before the tryst can get serious he is recalledto Shanghai where, some three years later, he has become head of the secretservice on behalf of the Japanese. …

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