Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Harry Forbes

9/29/2007 (8 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 (8 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

The Young Messiah: Film to depict Christ as a child Watch

Image of The Young Messiah is the story of Jesus' youth (Wikipedia).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

"The Young Messiah" is the story of Christ's childhood. Who was he? How did he grow to be the world's Savior? What must it have been like to know the Christ child? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On "The Young Messiah" website, it is explained: "Inspired by ... continue reading


The one amazing thing waves of teenagers are doing after seeing this powerful film will inspire you Watch

Image of Recently released to the home entertainment market via DVD and Blu-Ray,

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Many movies make us laugh, thrill us and make us cry ... in the case of the football film, "Woodlawn," the film's story on how a community is torn apart by racial strife to later reunite because of God's love has audiences standing up and cheering - and ... continue reading


New faith-based film 'The Pastor' addresses gang violence, urban decay Watch

Image of Arturo Muyshondt, the star and writer of the new faith-based film

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The faith-based film "The Pastor" is playing in 400 theaters tonight only across the United States. "The Pastor" tells the story of a former gang member, played by the film's writer Arturo Muyshondt, who turns his life over to God and begins his ministry in a ... continue reading


Opulent castle in Hitchcock masterpiece 'To Catch a Thief' on the market Watch

Image of Sharing the screen with Cary Grant in 1955, Grace Kelly fell in love with the amazingly beautiful castle.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The breathtaking Castle of la Croix des Gardes, used to good effect in the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock classic, "To Catch a Thief" is back on the market again after 56 years. Grace Kelly adored the location, with its graceful Florentine contours. The owner of the ... continue reading


China's wealthiest man spends huge amount of money on THIS unexpected purchase Watch

Image of China's wealthiest man, Wang Jianlin has bought the Burbank-based Legendary Entertainment studio outright for $3.5 billion in cash.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Chinese movie ticket-buying public will quickly outpace the North American one. In this spirit, China's wealthiest man, Wang Jianlin has bought the Burbank-based Legendary Entertainment studio outright for $3.5 billion in cash. Legendary Entertainment is ... continue reading


'The Revenant' and 'The Martian' sweep Golden Globe Awards Watch

Image of Actress Whitney Port arrived in a dress that was barely there at the 73rd Golden Globes Awards.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The 73rd Annual Golden Globes Awards honored the grueling Wild West tale "The Revenant" and the speculative science epic "The Martian" with the lion's share of awards Sunday night. The ceremony went off without any noticeable glitches, although actors Bellamy ... continue reading


Christian movie 'The Masked Saint' offers up faith along with wrasslin' moves Watch

Image of In

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

"The Masked Saint," about a professional wrestler turned to small town pastor (Brett Granstaff) has generated positive reviews. Its offbeat combination of sports, heroism, and faith has proved to be a winning combination. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In ... continue reading


'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' set to overtake all box office records after released in China Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

There exists the slim possibility that "Star Wars; The Force Awakens" in its first 23 days of theatrical release could NOT be the top box office draw of this weekend. It may actually go to "Ride Along 2" or Michael bay's "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of ... continue reading


'The Force Awakens' surpasses 'Avatar' as the highest-grossing domestic movie of all time Watch

Image of J.J. Abrams'

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The "Star Wars" series has legions of faithful fans - and plenty of new ones, it seems. In the words of Obi Wan, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has become "more powerful than we could have possibly imagined." The movie has toppled "Avatar" from its roost as ... continue reading


5 classic movies every Catholic teen should watch Watch

Image of Movies every Catholic teen should watch (Getty Images).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Many movies include lessons to be learned, whether those lessons lead us to personal or societal enlightenment or force us to acknowledge some of the world's harsher truths. We watch films as a means of entertainment and get to walk away with a lesson learned, but how ... continue reading


All Movies News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 3:4-13
4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, since that was the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
9 How can a young man keep his way spotless? By keeping your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:30-34
30 The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 6th, 2016 Image

St. Paul Miki
February 6: Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. ... Read More