Lust, Caution

2007

Lust, Caution

Critics Consensus

Ang Lee's Lust, Caution is a tense, sensual and beautifully-shot espionage film.

72%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 147

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 51,306
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Lust, Caution Photos

Movie Info

Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee adapts this Eileen Chang story set in World War II-era Shanghai that details the political intrigue surrounding a powerful political figure named Mr. Yee (Tony Leung) in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. Spanning the late '30s and early '40s, the movie introduces us to Hong Kong teen Wong Chia Chi (Tang Wei), a shy college freshman who finds her calling in a drama society devoted to patriotic plays. But the troupe's leader, Kuang Yu Min (Wang Leehom), isn't just a theater maven -- he's a revolutionary as well, and he's devoted to carrying out a bold plan to assassinate top Japanese collaborator Mr. Yee. Each student has an important role to play, and Wong puts herself in a dangerous position as Mrs. Mak; she befriends Mr. Yee's wife (Joan Chen), and slowly gains trust before tempting him into an affair. While at first the plan goes exactly as scripted, things suddenly take a deadly turn and Wong is emigrated from Hong Kong. Later, in 1941, the occupation shows no signs of ceasing and Wong is simply drifting through her days in Shanghai. Much to her surprise, the former actress finds Kuang requesting that she resume the role of Mrs. Mak. Now, as Wong again gains intimate access to her dangerous prey, she must struggle with her own identity in order to pull off the performance of a lifetime. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Cast

Tang Wei
as Wong Chia-chi/Mak Tai-tai
Joan Chen
as Yee Tai-tai
Wang Lee Hom
as Kuang Yu-min, Kuang Yu Min
Johnson Yuen
as Auyang Ling-wen/Mr. Mak
He Sai-fe
as Hsiao Tai-tai
Kao Ying Hsuan
as Huang Lei
Ko Yu Lien
as Liang Jun Sheng
Anupam Kher
as Jewerly Shop Manager
Su Yan
as Ma Tai Tai
He Saifei
as Hsiao Tai Tai
Song Ru Hui
as Wang's Aunt
Lisa Yen Lu
as Mahjong Partner of Aunt
Jie Liu
as Leung Tai Tai
Yu Ya
as Chu Tai Tai
Ling Lin Wang
as Liao Tai Tai
Dong Zhi Hua
as Whangai Yee's Amah
Wang Kan
as Mr. Yee's Chauffeur
Song Jian Hua
as Yee Tai Tai's Chauffeur
Takesita Akiko
as Japanese Tavern Boss Lady
Fujki Hayato
as Japanese Colonel Sato
Seto Masumi
as Geisha in Japanese Tavern
Koyama Noriko
as Musician in Japanese Tavern
Shayam Pathak
as Jewelry Shopkeeper
Gu Zhang-Ping
as Hong Kong Tailor
Gao Bo-Wen
as Male Ping-Tan Singer
Yu Qun
as Female Ping-Tan Singer
Lau Yat Tung
as Male HKU Theater Audience
Lai Yuk Ching
as Female HKU Theater Audience
Yuji Kojima
as Japanese Commander Taicho
Mizogomi Yoko
as Japanese Teacher
Minamikata Fumika
as Japanese Tavern Waitress
Anys Fatnassi
as New Kiessling Café Waiter
Tang Ya Jun
as Tricycle Cab Driver
Shi Hong
as Woman at Police Line
Deng Wei
as Prostitute in Brothel
Li Dou
as Old Man at Bookstore
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Critic Reviews for Lust, Caution

All Critics (147) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (106) | Rotten (41)

Audience Reviews for Lust, Caution

  • Jan 07, 2012
    Lust, Caution is based on a novella that is apparently loosely based on some actual events. That last bit kinda makes sense to me, but it really felt like something based in reality. The story is set primarily in Hong Kong in 1938 and Shanghai in 1942 amidst the Japanese occupation of China, and the puppet government established there and concerns a young woman involved with a resistance group who plot to kill those "traitors" collaborating with the ruling Japanese government. As part of their plan to kill a certain target, the young woman goes undercover as his mistress, but soon finds herself in a dangerous position as her growing connection to him can't help but conflict with her efforts to help assassinate him. Looking at just the broad points, this is not a new sort of story, and this sort of thing has been seen quite a lot before, especially with the whole war time angle. What makes this one unique is the specifics, namely the Japanese occupation of China, which is a topic not often explored in film (so far as I know). That's unfortunate too, because this is a rather fascinating subject. I'm glad that Lee decided to try to bring more attention to it. Now, for the rest of this review, I need to make it clear that the version I saw was not the original (preferred) NC-17 cut, but the censored R-rated version. For this reason, I was kinda let down, and imagine that I'd be giving the regular version a higher grade. From what I can tell, all that's changed is the numerous and graphic sex scenes have been toned down a hair. That's kinda dumb too, as these are things that are actually rather crucial to the story and characters, specifically the emotional impact of Mak Tai Tai and her relationship to the man she's supposed to help assassinate. The film was also wrongly billed as an erotic thriller. Yeah, it's a suspense/espionage thriller, but I wouldn't really call it erotic. It's steamy, sure, but the tone and context keep things from really being all that titillating. Yes, the censored cut gets the point across, but it feels forcefully compromised. Okay, enough with the ranting. All in all, this is quite a film. It's quite lengthy, but surprisingly light on dull moments. It's really absorbing and interesting, and you really get involved with how the events will play out. The love that Mak Tai Tai falls in with Mr. Yee isn't the sweetest, but there's no denying the two have a deep emotional connection, despite his roughness and trust issues. The period details are quite nice, and the film has gorgeous cinematography. The writing is quite nice, the performances are terrific, and this is a wonderfully done variation on a theme. The ending is a bit odd and somewhat of an unsatisfying letdown, but the buildup remains quite good. All in all, a fine piece of work, even though the censorship issues leave some unfortunate scars.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 11, 2010
    great visuals and masterful storytelling. The acting certainly shines, especially by Tony Leung and newcommer Wei Tang, who is nothing short of brilliant and stunning to look at. A bit sad and has a rather sudden, bland ending but a rich story and engaging. See it!
    alan j Super Reviewer
  • Jan 10, 2010
    Exceedingly well-constructed deceit-laden wartime spy thriller unexpectedly descending into a raw, strange sadomasochistic love affair within the context of a brutal pre-revolutionary scene. Tang Wei gives a superb and unsettling performance.
    hawk l Super Reviewer
  • Jun 28, 2009
    I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. Ang Lee's English literature film style transposed to Shanghai in the 1940's. Beautifully filmed and an engrossing story.
    Lesley N Super Reviewer

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