The Assassin (2015)
Critic Consensus: The Assassin's thrilling visuals mark a fresh highlight for director Hsiao-hsien Hou, even if its glacial pace may keep some viewers at arm's length.
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as Nie Yinniang
as Tian Ji'an
as The Mirror Polisher
as Huji (as Hsieh Hsin-Ying)
as Xia Jing
as Yinniang' Grandmother
as Nie Feng
as Lady Tian's Teacher
as Princess Jiacheng
as Princess-Nun Jiaxin
as Yinniang' Mother
as Lady Tian
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Critic Reviews for The Assassin
"The Assassin" is gorgeous to look at, but not all that compelling to watch.
It's so lovely, from the brocade draped interiors to the mist moving over a landscape in the half light, like a series of confounding paintings placed end to end.
The visuals relegate the acting to secondary importance. They overwhelm the story. And they make "The Assassin" unforgettable.
Part of the problem is Hou's style works at odds with the material.
Audience Reviews for The Assassin
An astonishing film with gorgeous visuals and a splendid sound design, but way too measured and cryptic in its narrative, edited in a way that makes it feel like a frustrating puzzle that lacks too much important information and doesn't justify any effort to try to understand it.
Yes the plot is mostly indecipherable but at a certain point you stop caring as I don't believe your supposed to be all that invested in the story. What matters are the visual and auditory elements . . . the gorgeous cinematography, the panoramic backgrounds, and the way the sounds of nature seem to hijack every scene.
Although the cinematography is lush and the locations grandiose, THE ASSASSIN establishes a steady pace that prefers stillness over action as well as a storytelling method that executes through staccato bursts amidst a domineering and overarching insistence on patience. Both the performances and fight scenes are muted yet beautiful to observe, but the film ultimately results in well-crafted parts that make up a frustrating whole in which the end feeling is empty rather than profound and a whimper rather than a bang. Simply, it is visually stimulating but emotionally flat.
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