Sunday, August 14, 2016

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Movie Name: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Year of Release: 2000
Director: Ang Lee
Stars: Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun Fat, Zhang Ziyi, Chen Chang, Pei-Pei Cheng, Sihung Lung, Fa Zeng Li, Xian Gao
Genre: Drama, Action, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Watch it on Amazon

In 2000, celebrated Taiwanese director Ang Lee, was coming off from a series of films adapted from western authors, films that were well received, even if with different levels of critical acclaim ("Sense and Sensibility" and "The Ice Storm" were awards contenders, "Ride with the Devil" was an underrated feature, not seen by many). The director decided to go back to his origins (something he had done with "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman" and "The Wedding Banquet"), and came back with his very own perspective of what a martial arts film was about. The film follows the story of two couples, one a more mature couple who has never confessed their feelings for each other, due to life's circumstances, and another, a younger couple comprised of a well off young woman, and a young robber, who against all odds fall in love. The story takes place in the 18th century, and it all starts when an iconic sword is stolen. This event brings all these characters together, some of which have old feuds to settle.
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is a film that, much like Ang Lee's other directorial efforts, subverts the genre that it belongs to, giving the film a heart and a poetic tone that is unlike the martial arts films that traditionally come from Hong Kong. The film retains the fantastic and gravity defying fight scenes from the martial arts genre, but it balances it out with character development and with a romantic side featuring a couple who has long loved each other in silence but never acted on their feelings. It's a film that successfully combines action and adventure, with a poetic side that comes from characters that remain faithful to an ideal and philosophy, even if that prevents them from actually pursuing what makes them happy. The film features a great performance from Michelle Yeoh and is gorgeously shot by Peter Pau. A great film always worth watching.