Friday, April 04, 2008

Victim's Gold Stars: #9

THE TOP TEN: #9: Lust, Caution (Se, jie)

One of the most aptly titled films of the year, Ang Lee's sly, cool, sensuous espionage thriller is a perfectly detailed creation, someone grounding itself with a true sense of place even as it shifts and moves and jerks unpredictably. It's become notorious for its explicit sex scenes, but those are just the surface, both within those scenes and without: they slide into a narrative that is somehow both tightly formed and slightly verbose, charting the emotional escalation of both Wong Chia Chi (Tang Wei, in one of the most stunning screen debuts ever) and Mr. Yee (Tony Leung) as her job of seducing and gaining the absolute trust of him turns, naturally, into something she could never have expected. Lust, Caution plays games at every level, coyly placing a real-life debutante in the role of a debutante, opening on a game of mah-jong as tense as anything you've ever seen, placing an underused, suspicious Joan Chen on the sidelines... Perhaps the young romantic rebel subplot is a tad too obvious, and the third act too langorous, but this remains an exceptional, intoxicating piece of work, one to entrance and unnerve all at once.

1 comment:

DL said...

Just noticed that you saw Happy-Go-Lucky. :) How was it!? (And more importantly, how was Sally Hawkins?)