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A masterpiece. Sure the 1st reel has to set up the final two, but what a magnificent 2nd half. Cinematography should win an Oscar and the film should win Best Foreign Film (be nice to see it nominated in Best Picture Category. Great plot twists and you never know who will survive. Best film I've seen this year. Chao Deng also deserves accolades in a dual role that you can't believe he pulls off and you'll think they are two different actors.
Filme chines lindíssimo, parece preto e branco, so se destaca o tom de pele.
Shadow/影, co-written & directed by visionary Chinese director Zhang Yimou, as the poster says, the genius behind Hero and House of Flying Daggers. I confess I've only seen Hero from him, and The Great Wall. I will watch House of Flying Daggers and review it next.
The characters in Shadow are loosely based on legendary Chinese warriors from the Han Dynasty, some of them include Sun Quan, Zhou Yu, and Guan Yu to name a few.
Shadow tells the story of assassins known as shadows who are unrecognised throughout history because their job is to operate silently and discreetly to the point no ones they exist at all. It follows the protagonist Jingzhou who is a shadow and doppelganger of Commander Ziyu (based on Zhou Yu). Ziyu was injured after a deadly battle against Yang Cang (based on Guan Yu). Ziyu tasks his shadow Jingzhou to act as Ziyu himself while he recuperates in a hidden cave in the palace.
Ziyu wants to get revenge on Yang Cang for the last battle and he trains Jingzhou on how to counter Yang Cang's strikes with an umbrella blade as seen in the poster, yes it's an umbrella blade. After failing multiple times, Ziyu's wife, Xiao Ai (based on Xiao Qiao) suggests that Jingzhou utilise a feminine movement that symbolises water, which is described as Yin, because Yang Cang's strikes symbolises fire, described as Yang.
The film is not black and white but it uses black and white colour palettes to correlate with the Yin & Yang theme. Even though the colours are black and white, the story tells us that things are not always black and white, referencing the fact that Jingzhou is not the real Ziyu. Yimou's films always have a secret plan in his plots.
Yimou may have failed impressing us in The Great Wall but you have to admit the visuals and the costumes were beautiful. This time with Shadow, he has exceeded expectations. A master of art. Beautiful cinematography along with a great score, Yimou is here to prove he has not lost his touch and still knows how to make films. Especially the scene with the army using the umbrella blades to slide through the rain in the city, that was fantastic.
Slow and not much action. Some twists, but would not watch again.
This is how you make movie!
[Spoiler] This movie managed to tricked me with its unreliable narrative. Twice. The motivation and intent of each character were expertly masqueraded with exemplary character development techniques. The visuals are great as the choreography of the fight scenes felt very real.
If you liked "A Touch of Zen" then this martial arts fantasy for the 21st century is definitely for you. Yimou at the very top of their game. Exquisite filmmaking and the way they toy with the concept of "shadow" through plot and design will delight you.
A stunning film. One of the best of the year so far
The second part is far superior to the first one, in which I felt like it was directed by just your average American filmmaker. This film had the potential to be something much greater than it is.
A very Zhang Yimou film. The twists and turns off the plot kept me heavily invested and Zhang's trademark poetic martial arts scenes are on point. Deng Chao shines in his doppelgänger roles. A very wholesome and entertaining tale!