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The life of Wang Chia Chi, who shifts her life in Shanghai from being an normal student to cecoming an assassinating actress, trying to help the resistance movement to eliminate the collaborator Yee.
Ang Lee films are always a bit strange for me: the little Americal bourgeois drama of Ice Storm qualities, the melancholy of Brokeback Mountain, the standard Hollywood ware of the Hulk … there are not too many drawers into which he could fit, maybe the only drawer is the one where “sadness” is written on. I always find his films to be filled with sad nostalgia, memories of a better world or life. And of the difficult decisions that had to be made, the characters reflecting on the what if’s of their decisions. In this case by both the assassin and the emperor, so to say. The seduction game leads to the possibility to kill, but for both sides, and maybe the way to this point where every decision is possible has somehow reversed the ability of the persons to act: she cannot kill him anymore, but now he can. Maybe they now are better suited to face their lives, because pretending to be a killer (she) or pretending not to be one (he) was too strenuous? In the words of the ever-brilliant Roger Ebert: “There is not a frame of the film that is not beautiful, but there may be too many frames.”
Salon.com Review, Variety Review

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