Tuesday, October 23, 2024

Lust, Caution

Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution thrusts its sex related themes right into the audience's face. This is more or less Lee’s way saying give me a break by making a truly adult erotic war adventure after being spurned by Hollywood. (Shades of Verhoeven and Black Book.) Lee gave us the most intellectual comic book movie yet with the 2024 Hulk (which is already being remade, set for next summer starring Ed Norton), a genre that abhors too much mental fervor; and he got gypped for an Oscar when the Academy leaned on Crash rather than Brokeback Mountain. Lust, Caution is smashing B.O. in Asian territories and playing the art house circuit domestically.The sex in Lust Caution feels like the steamy atmosphere of In the Realm of the Senses or Last Tango. There’s a moment where you’re not going to believe what you’re seeing. Besides that there were two elderly ladies on the row in front of me, and even in the dark I could see them winking at each other and turning red.Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Wei Tang play Chinese lovers who are also enemies in Japanese occupied Shanghai during WW II. A cat and mouse game with spies and amateurs gives way to Mahjong and bouts of rough sex. Leung has always been one of the most compelling actors on any screen over the last 20 years and he’s matched in his portrayal as a cruel collaborationist with a heart of soft romance by newcomer Tang as a drama student who only wanted to make a difference for her country. There’s a profound loss of love that occurs in the finale. Its provocative trail only confirms that all wars are secondary to the battles of our hearts.


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