The weekly reviews continue, with the film that made
North America sit up and take notice of Ang Lee.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Zhang Ziyi as Jen Yu

Chow Yun Fat as Li Mu Bai

Michelle Yeoh as Shu Lien

Cheng Pei Pei as Jade Fox

Screenplay by Wang Hui-Ling, James Schamus, and Tsai
Kuo Jung, based
on a novel by Wang Du Lu.

Directed by Ang Lee.

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

In a world where freedom from responsibility can grant
freedom from
gravity, a young girl seeks to change her path in
life.

High Point

The restaurant sequence.

Low Point

Three warriors are trying to kill Jade Fox, and she
can stop and gawk
at Jen for twenty seconds?

This is the only real story-based irritation to me.
The greatest
hindrance of my enjoyment of this film is my inability
to understand
Mandarin, which means I have to use either a dub track
(which strips
out the original inflection and, often, some of the
sound effects), or
subtitles (which are rarely complete.) I’ll always
take the subtitles
over a dub when given the option, but I know they’re
not completely
accurate. (At least, I assume that a statement as
simple as “no”
would take less than eight syllables in any language.
I could be
wrong.)

The Scores

This is an original entry in the North
American market. (I
don’t know enough about its home market to judge it in
that context.)
It’s a martial arts movie in which killing is rare and
unsavoury, in
which combat victories earn respect but not happiness,
and in which
the noble warrior is bound to responsibilities outside
of combat and
vengeance. Close-ups are used in combat only when a
distanced shot
wouldn’t show enough detail to appreciate the skill of
the
participants. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are limited to wire work,
destruction and some
make-up. Still, they work well for their intentions.
I give it 5 out
of 6.

The story is primarily about the characters
and their
emotions, rather than events. As such, the plot is
simple, but the
context is rich. The woman who sought freedom finds
that she cannot
even eat a meal in peace, and the man who was more
free than any other
character sacrificed eternal freedom to remain
tethered to his last
responsibility. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is also nicely done, with the
actors playing their
roles with subtlety and skill. A script like this
calls for a lot of
repressed emotion, which can be difficult to portray,
but this cast
does the job well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is very strong. There
are a lot of
powerful influences here, through the character
emotions, the highly
amusing comedic portions, and the gorgeous imagery. I
give it 6 out
of 6.

The production was extremely well done. The
cinematography
Oscar it won was definitely well earned. It’s just
plain gorgeous,
with location shooting used with locations perfectly
chosen for the
needs of the story. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is a great movie about
characters that happens
to include martial arts. I highly recommend it. I
give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
receives 38 out of
42.

Additional Comments

Join us again next week for a review of The Day
The Earth Stood Still
.