How entertaining? ★★★★☆
Thought provoking? ★★☆☆☆
22 November 2007
This article is a review of LUST, CAUTION.
Director Ang Lee is a fearless film-maker bringing an original spin to each genre he tackles, whether it be martial arts (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON), comics (THE HULK) or the Western (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN). Here he turns his versatile eye to espionage in China during the Second World War.
Similar to Paul Verhoeven’s Dutch-set BLACK BOOK, though more sophisticated, less misogynistic and more evocative - the focus is a relatively innocent woman (impressive new comer Tang Wei) inducted as a spy to seduce the secrets out of her male target (Asian superstar Tony Leung ), who is believed to be a collaborator.
Rated 18 (for sexual content) and running at over two and a half hours, this is a simmering look on one level at the Japanese invasion turning a group of drama students into wannabe resistance fighters. They virtually teach themselves how to work undercover, but naively underestimate the consequences.
Examining with sensitivity and intelligence the relationship between sex and love, the meticulous design coupled with impressive turns by a luminescent Wei and a roguish Leung ratchet up the passion and tension, as high emotions and high stakes clash in a lush, sensual thriller.