On a technical and visual standpoint, this film is absolutely gorgeous. I mean the cinematography is REALLY gorgeous and the few fighting scenes are fascinating. The music is great too. But the pacing is extremely slow and it ultimately affected my engagement to the story. Not that I mind slower films but here it didn't do well for me. But overall, a well acted and very well directed film. 3.5 stars.
A defiant and unique Wuxia film that strays very far from the typical styles and tropes used in the genre. Watching this film was like being on top of a mountain and taking in the biggest breath of fresh air and it deconstructs the Wuxia genre akin to how Two-Lane Blacktop did to the road movie. I need to see more Hou Hsiao-Hsien films.
You may give me all your "it's-contemplative-and-beautiful" bollocks, but The Assassin was for me nothing else than a director jerking off on his own artistic ego and mythology. He deliberately hides the action from you. He cuts away before the hit. Dialogues are sparse and bookended by two minutes pauses. It's like it's trying very hard not to please us, and I can't stand a movie that is so self-conscious.
Un évident ravissement du spectateur s'insinue peu à peu dans la vision et le déroulement d'une histoire finalement secondaire qui prend en fait ses aises et son envergure dans une lumineuse osmose avec le décor pictural, d'une venteuse pièce ornementée à foison de rideaux, de draperies et de tapisseries... www.cinefiches.com
"The Assassin" is glamorous without any mega-picture setting, thrilling without any swordplay on ropes, operatic without any chorus and romantic without any catchy music. It is a piece of art presented as one-woman-opera elegantly played by Shu Qi, and as an eloge-de-l`amour touchingly narrated by Hou`s sublime visual style.
Every picture of this is ridiculous. The forefront, the middle, the background - always something moving, some trickery with the depth of field, some whiff of smoke. The movie is a slideshow of perfectly built tableaux. The composition is flawless. Alas, I didn't understand anything what was happening. I didn't feel the motives of the characters, or anything. It felt almost like a parody, the deliberate slowness.
E' tosto da digerire,perchè un melodrammone in costume di due ore cinese è una sfida importante. Molte sono le scivolate nel cinema d'essex,ma la regia è meravigliosa,i colori sembrano quelli di Kitano e i movimenti di macchina giustificano ampiamente il premio della giuria di Cannes. Messa in scena di livello altissimo,con una luce varia che esalta il tutto: un mattone,ma un mattone che trasuda bellezza.
stunningly beautiful. there is a lot here that I don't believe I necessarily am capable of putting in words, but I greatly appreciated the director's application of verbal silence as a means to keep the film taut. His ability to convey meaning through composition is incredible.