Lust, Caution

Year: 2007
Production Co: Hai Sheng Film Production Company
Director: Ang Lee
Producer: Ang Lee
Writer: James Schamus/Eileen Chang
Cast: Tony Leung, Joan Chen
All the rave reviews and critical fawning have made me feel bad for walking out of this terminally dull World War II drama not even halfway through. Like most other people, the presence of Ang Lee as director sold me on it, and if that doesn't for most people, the promise of explicit sex scenes will.

We meet a young student in a jittery China as she tries to move closer to a prominent local businessman, learning through an extended flashback that she joined a theatre group at university who decided to become revolutionaries and assassinate figures suspected of collaborating with the Japanese occupiers.

She befriends the wife of the man and falls in love with him instead of killing him, and after a completely redundant coda where they move away, the group breaks up and then she's recruited again years later when her target returns, she finally falling into his bed after an hour where he takes off his belt, whips her mercilessly and more or less rapes her.

With not a shred of eroticism and drama that amounted to lingering, knowing glances and a single fist fight, so little was happening I was falling asleep and left the cinema to wake myself up.

Overlong, pretentious and dull as dishwater, this is Lee's Star Wars; Episode 1 and Inland Empire - somebody indulged a visionary too much and he disappeared up his own arse.

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