Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Now on Netflix: The Assassin (2015)

The Assassin movie poster
The Assassin (2015) - Directed by Hsiao-Hsien Hou; Written by Cheng Ah, T'ien-wen Chu, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Hai-Meng Hsieh, Xing Pei; Starring Qi Shu, Chen Chang, Satoshi Tsumabuki.

By Kenny Howell

The word "meditative" can mean two things when talking about movies.

It is often applied to films that have a lot of long shots, the action is held to let the scene really sink in, or to make you become more aware of it. Then sometimes it just means not a lot happens, and people can put their own interpretations in the absence. They think there has to be something going on in those moments, I need to pretend to get it to fit in.

At times in The Assassin, I felt like the latter. There are quite astonishing moments that are breathtaking, especially the locations where director Hsiao-Hsien Hou, who won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for this film, decided to base his martial arts period piece. But other times he can't wait to get away from the story to show a long shot of a plant or a mountain. It definitely creates a mood, and he is very much in control of that. I wonder if he just stayed away from the story too much.

The story itself is about a female assassin who is sent to kill a corrupt governmental leader she once knew. The mission takes her back to the world she left before she started training to be an assassin as a child, and pits her off against people important to her early years.

Hsiao-Hsien Hou's approach is an interesting one, and I applaud the effort of trying to tell this type of story a little different. I am just not so sure it needed to be told that way.

The Assassin is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***

No comments:

Post a Comment