Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Harry Forbes

9/29/2007 (7 years ago)

Catholic News Service (www.catholicnews.com)

"Lust, Caution" (Focus) is a paradox: a superbly crafted romantic tale that recalls some of the great espionage movies of Hollywood's golden age, but with a modern-day permissiveness that goes far beyond anything Ingrid Bergman or Cary Grant ever did on-screen.

'LUST, CAUTION' – Tang Wei, left, and Tony Leung star in a scene from the movie 'Lust, Caution.' (CNS/Focus)

'LUST, CAUTION' – Tang Wei, left, and Tony Leung star in a scene from the movie "Lust, Caution." (CNS/Focus)

Highlights

By Harry Forbes

Catholic News Service (www.catholicnews.com)

9/29/2007 (7 years ago)

Published in Movies


The film takes place in the late 1930s and early 1940s, in Hong Kong and Shanghai at the time of the Japanese occupation. Wong Chia Chi (Tang Wei), a shy young student, falls in with a theatrical troupe run by Kuang Yu Min (Wang Leehom). Kuang and his theatrically minded friends are part of a resistance movement that decides to assassinate Mr. Yee (Tony Leung), a powerful secret service chief with the collaborationist government. Kuang persuades an increasingly confident Wong to play the real-life role of a married woman and seduce the married Wong to lure him to his death. Part of Wong's training includes learning the facts of life so she can convincingly play the femme fatale with Mr. Yee. This is accomplished in a no-nonsense way in the dark by one of the group. She learns the more external aspects of this role from the Hollywood films she watches with such fascination. She contrives to become friendly with Mrs. Yee (Joan Chen), and before long Wong is part of an affluent circle playing endless mah-jongg sessions, during which she catches the admiring eye of Mr. Yee. Eventually, a clandestine dinner with Mr. Yee – about as romantic a scene as modern cinema has conjured – leads to his offering to drive her back to her home, where her friends lie in wait to assassinate him. But the ever-cautious Mr. Yee opts not to follow her inside. Wong leaves the group in horror when she witnesses a gruesome killing, but picks up her former disguise a couple of years later in Shanghai, where she re-establishes her friendship with Mrs. Yee, and eventually commences an affair with Mr. Yee. Is she playing the spy role or falling in love for real? We're kept guessing right up to the end. Director Ang Lee's glossy adaptation (script by Wang Hui Ling) of revered Chinese writer Eileen Chang's short story, "Se, Jei," is a meticulously detailed, beautifully designed (by Pan Lai) period thriller. Performances are finely shaded. Especially strong are Wei, in an extraordinary feature film debut, and the charismatic Leung. Together, they center the film. With all of this quality, it is all the more unfortunate that Lee the director felt it necessary to shoot the somewhat aberrant sex scenes so explicitly. Even though just a few minutes out of a long, serious-minded film – their presence precludes endorsement. (That may change if the film ever gets a television airing with the sex scenes excised.) Also disturbing, but more arguably valid, is an extremely violent stabbing that commendably shows the true horror of violence as few other screen killings ever have. Subtitles. The film contains graphic nonmarital sexual encounters, full-frontal and rear nudity, a violent stabbing death, adultery theme, vigilante justice and a single use of the f-word. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O – morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is NC-17 – no one 17 and under admitted. - - - Forbes is director of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

---

Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops



Comments


More Movies

Highly controversial 'American Sniper' rakes in $200 million Watch

Image of Some people have celebrated the movie for its unflinching portrayal of combat in Iraq. Others have assailed it as war propaganda.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor, "American Sniper" stars Bradley Cooper as the legendary sniper Chris Kyle. On the track to make $200 million, it may go on to beat 2004's "The Passion of the Christ," which currently ranks as the highest-grossing ... continue reading


Director James Cameron delays 'Avatar' sequel's release until 2017 Watch

Image of Writer and director James Cameron will be filming his three sequels to

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Director and writer James Cameron's science-fiction fantasy epic "Avatar" remains the top-grossing film of all time. This means one thing in success-minded Hollywood: sequels. Cameron, who plans to film all three "Avatar" sequels at the same time - and then ... continue reading


Second-generation Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. dies at 88 Watch

Image of The younger Goldwyn would make his mark on the film industry in the 1980s and 1990s. His legion of hits scored large with both critic and audiences.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The son of one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. grew up with all the glitter and glamour that would entail. But one thing was clear to him, even as a young boy: His father frequently mortgaged their lavish Hollywood mansion in order to ... continue reading


George Clooney mocks himself at 72nd Annual Golden Globes awards ceremony Watch

Image of Actor George Clooney sported a

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Accepting his Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 72nd Annual Golden Globes awards ceremony, actor George Clooney made fun of his negative "Monuments Men" reviews and discussed his marriage to Amal Clooney. It wasn't all jokes and laughter: Clooney also wore a "Je ... continue reading


Actor Angelina Jolie meets with Pope Francis after 'Unbroken' screening Watch

Image of Glamour icon and director Angelina Jolie met with Pope Francis at the Vatican after a screening of her film

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Glamour icon and director Angelina Jolie met with Pope Francis at the Vatican after a screening of her film "Unbroken," about Olympic track star and prisoner-of-war Louis Zamperini. Vatican representative the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the film shows "positive ... continue reading


20th Century Fox breaks 21st Century records with worldwide sales Watch

Image of 20th Century Fox, the movie studio, is racking in some 21st century success with international ticket sales.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Movie studio 20th Century Fox, buoyed by box office champs such as "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," has set a new record for international ticket sales. Raking in $5.5 billion, 20th Century Fox stole the previous record held by ... continue reading


Two-time Oscar winner for Best Actress in 1930s, Luise Rainer dies at 104 Watch

Image of Luise Rainer's heyday was brief, at her choice. She had frequent battles with MGM boss Louis B. Mayer and didn't like the roles she was offered.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

She was one of the few actors to win the Oscar for acting two times in a row. Luise Rainer, who won the coveted gold statuette in the 1930s for "The Great Ziegfeld" and "The Good Earth" has died at the age of 104. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Born in ... continue reading


New documentary takes off where 'Unbroken' ends, showing the power of God to make a broken man whole Watch

Image of From the film

By Robert Mullen (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Unbroken," Universal Pictures' larger-than-life, though definitely true, story about Louis Zamperini, an Olympian and hero of WWII, has had an incredibly strong performance in theaters over the four day Christmas weekend, doubling estimates from some critics. ... continue reading


'Hobbit' still at top while 'Interview' at 16th place Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was a most unusual final box office weekend for 2014. The post-Christmas movie theater take saw the expected blockbusters holding court - but also saw two musicals in the top five. In the meantime, the controversial and talked about "The Interview," once ... continue reading


Fr Samuel Medley: EXODUS Gods and Kings Movie Review Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley SOLT

A much better time would be spent with Yule Brenner and Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments, or simply sitting down with your family and ready the Exodus account from the primary source. There you will encounter the real Moses and the real God, two friends, who ... continue reading


All Movies News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 18:15-20
15 Yahweh your God will raise up a prophet like me; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
1 Come, let us cry out with joy to Yahweh, acclaim ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 1:21-28
21 They went as far as Capernaum, and at once on the ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 7:32-35
32 I should like you to have your minds free from all ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 1st, 2015 Image

St. Brigid of Ireland
February 1: Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter