It is a film that is loosely based on real events during the Japanese occupied China in Shanghai. Though, most of the narrative is still fictionalised and dramatised by renowned director Ang Lee. With many famous films that had gone on to multiple acclaims and awards, Lust Caution is another of Ang Lee’s film that received the same response. I’m here again.
The basic premise is a coup and assassination plan initiated by a group of patriotic students to kill a Japan-appointed Agent, which is currently ruling the Japan-occupied area. Chia Ci is chosen to go undercover as the wife of a businessman in order to get near Mr. Yee, the agent. Along the course, she has to balance the conflict between her own feeling towards Mr. Yee, as their relationships get more intense as their sexual relations go, and also to her own mission.
As expected of Ang Lee’s film, this film has scenes that can be considered an artpiece in itself. The uses of clean imageries accompanied by beautiful fitting soundtrack become his hallmarks, and these can be seen throughout the film. I am impressed at the pacing that is so carefully set for some light-hearted moments, intense climax and the sexual scenes. Each becomes a part of the experience that lets us see through Chia Ci’s mindset and feelings to her situations. In a way, Ang Lee does a remarkable job portraying her as someone pure, yet it is also tainted purity. She undergoes a transformation as the story goes, but in a way, she is still the same girl, trapped in time, lust and guilt.
The music used are quite orchestra-ish, with certain crucial scenes using them for big impact. Yet, there are some crucial scenes that are surprisingly quiet, as if to let us watch the scene in a very raw and subdued way. Characters are simple and also complex, as we see the lust turns to love and then turns to hope and dust. It is a story which explores humans behaviour in its raw form, with simple actions by individuals affecting the others.