Friday, February 26, 2016

"The Assassin" Review by Abraham Phillips

I really don’t know why this film has not caught on or mentioned more. This is a very unique, slick and very impressive martial arts film. It’s very brilliant in choreographing, sets and costumes, It’s vibrant and almost like a work of art come to life. This is directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien. He has been in the business since the 1980’s. Directing over 20 feature films. He has a true talent that captures breathtaking realities on screen and The Assassin is one of those films that stand out. The plot is set in 8th century China. It is the era of the Tang Dynasty. Your main character is Nie Yinniang at the young age of 10 is abducted by a Nun who trains her in the art of martial arts and turns her into the act of an Assassin. She is a killer that hunts down and murders corrupt government persons. Her master is Jiaxin who tells her who to hunt down and kill. Nie at times, shows mercy, which gets her in trouble with her master. Jiaxin decides to punish her by giving her a new assignment, she is to kill a military governor. What makes this so hard is that she was betrothed to marry him. She now is forced to return to her home, confront her parents that she has not seen in many years. There she has to come to terms with her past, the present ordeal, and the emotional feelings of following her master’s orders.

Starring the very beautiful Lin Li-hui. She is absolutely gorgeous and is truly a flawless performer. She makes you believe her plight. She adds to her character a reality base feel that transcends off screen into an emotional reality for the viewer. Also starring the very handsome and talented Chang Chen. Both Chen and Li-hui have wonderful chemistry together, and both make you believe their characters as they come to life on screen.

What really needs to be mentioned is the cinematography of this movie. Mark Lee Ping Bin creates a stunning, breathing taking, eye opening orgy of beauty throughout this film. The sets, costumes and places are truly something to be praised. The visuals of this film is mind numbing. Tight direction, flawless acting, dynamic visuals all bring this stunning piece of film together to enjoy, embrace and to watch over and over again. It won best director at the Cannes Film Festival and it rightly deserved it. It’s directed beautifully. Also Won Best Film, Director, Cinematography, Makeup and Costume Design, Sound effects at the 2015 Golden Horse Film Awards. Every category deserved it.

Truly a beautiful martial arts drama that showcases a rich story. Brilliant characters. Speechless visuals. The sound effects are pure ear candy. Listening to the wind, or the sword blade, the emotional force of the body, is all detailed in this filmed beauty. This is brought out on Blu-ray by Well Go USA. Sadly, the special features are limited. For such a great, grand film, I would have expected more in the special features department. It does have four behind the scenes features, known of them are over 4 minutes in length. Also comes with the trailer. This is a must see, must experience film that I highly Recommend.

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Review by Abraham Phillips

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