Sunday, October 28, 2007

oh the pain

I went to see "Lust, Caution" (link contains spoilers) with friend today. I didn't really want to go at first since I already gleaned the major points of the plot from the trailer and I don't like to see movies where I can guess the ending but this is suppose to be Ang Lee's big piece this year and of course there was all this indignation of really naked sex scenes in there so we went to check it out. ( btw, what is with Ang Lee and really naked sex scenes? is he going through some artsy phase? He was actually dismayed by all the fuss over the sex scenes but really if you don't want people to fuss over it, then don't make a NC-17 movie!)

Anyway, some thoughts about this movie without giving away the plot. It is really quite an masterpiece. Ang Lee managed to capture the subtlety in every expression, every movement, every unsaid pause. It is all filmed with a distinct Chinese sensibility. When I was watching it, I did not have a feeling of an "made for foreigner" movie (take notice, crappy Chinese directors with too much money). The actors were absolutely wonderful. The only bad points I can think of is that some of the HK actors (including the main guy) doesn't speak Mandarin that well, so some of the subtlety of intonation is lost during the mandarin dialog and it was a little jarring. But other than that, everything was exquisite.

Now onto the sex scenes, despite the big deal people made of it, there wasn't actually alot of it considering it was a 3 hour movie. It definitely was deserving of the "NC-17" rating though. I saw way more than I wanted to see. Both character was completely naked, although the guy's front side was always in shadows, the backside was very apparent. In other words, it was completely bare and under the light for everyone to see, and there were at least like 5 different positions with big close ups. I have heard some people call it a realistic portrayl because of the fact that there was no cover up, no half hidden views that might have beautified what was basically a very animalistic act. But I have to disagree, yes, it was very raw but it was hardly realistic because it was infused with the desperation, the anxiety and the fear of both characters until the whole act becomes one giant explosion of pain and suffering that the two people tries desperately to be numb to. The only thought i had when I was watching it was it was alot of emotional pain, almost unbearable. So I feel like it wasn't very realistic ( at least for normal people I hope), more like an magnification to the breaking point.

All in all, it was a good movie, I don't think I can bear to watch it again though because I tend to empathize with the main characters in movies and this is just too much pain to go through.

I want to talk about the plot too later, is anybody waiting to see it and dont' want to be spoiled?


Tochi said...

Interesting review! I haven't seen the movie yet, but have been meaning to watch it soon. It's been the talk of everyone for the past two months.

I find it amusing about your remark of the HK actors not speaking Mandarin well. Of course, I won't notice the difference, but it reminds me of a conversation I had regarding 光良 and 衛蘭's 童夢/一個人走 songs. I complained about Michael's Cantonese, while my friend complained about Janice's Mandarin.

Regarding the explicit scenes, I think you've put it more mildly than most of my friends. Did you feel that the movie would have been different/better if Ang Lee toned it down a bit?

moonfleck said...

haha, actually there were some cantonese dialog too so I am sure it would have been jarring for you as well when the mainland actors speaks them. Such is the risk with movies that uses actors from all three areas, China, HK and Taiwan.

It is hard to say whether it would be better to have less explicit scenes since I am naturally biased against them. But to be objective, I have to say that I feel like the first 2 scenes were definitely necessary to bring the audience to that emotional climax. I think the second scenes really made a huge impression on me as far as emotional overtone goes and I think without it the movie wouldn't have been so memorable, but the few after that kinda gave me nakedness fatigue so perhaps they were not very necessary. The thing is this movie was very slow paces as it is, most of the content is conveyed through pauses, I feel like the explicit scenes acts like little caffeine shots that kinda jolts the users a little.

moonfleck said...

urgh. so many grammar mistakes haha. Anyway, I am very interested to see what you think of the movie if you go watch it.

Ender said...

Nakedness fatigue, lol. Sound like something a doctor might diagnose.

Velius said...

Definitely something you would see on House. After almost killing you for the 3rd time,"You have nakedness fatigue!"

Ender said...

But it could be one of those episodes where they actually fail to figure it out in time, and the patient dies. Then afterward, when they are all moody and dejected, one of them will eventually realize "the clues were right under our was nakedness fatigue all along!"