The Assassin Reviews

  • Apr 23, 2022

    This is actually an arthouse movie and it is not a martial art movie. I think the movie's title and the trailer might have given people the wrong expectations about what it is. If you come to this movie and expecting to see an action packed, martial art film, then you are bound to be disappointed. The Assassin's excellence resides in the stunning cinematography, its simplicity, and the underlying philosophy, delivered by a nuanced, dream like storytelling. But this movie doesn't hold your hand. While the story has a complex political backdrop and the character dynamics are intricate, but the movie has little exposition. The narratives are fragmented, and dialogues are minimum. As a result this movie is not very accessible. It suffices to say this is not a commercial movie. The first time viewing is bound to be confusing. However, The Assassin will reward you if you are patient and willing to put in the efforts to understand its story. In my first viewing the movie thoroughly confused me, but afterwards for days I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I decided to watch it again. In my second viewing, the movie clicked for me and I came to appreciate its quiet beauty and its cinematic artistry. This movie is definitely not for everyone and I recommend it only to those cinema aficionados who like to watch arthouse movies.

    This is actually an arthouse movie and it is not a martial art movie. I think the movie's title and the trailer might have given people the wrong expectations about what it is. If you come to this movie and expecting to see an action packed, martial art film, then you are bound to be disappointed. The Assassin's excellence resides in the stunning cinematography, its simplicity, and the underlying philosophy, delivered by a nuanced, dream like storytelling. But this movie doesn't hold your hand. While the story has a complex political backdrop and the character dynamics are intricate, but the movie has little exposition. The narratives are fragmented, and dialogues are minimum. As a result this movie is not very accessible. It suffices to say this is not a commercial movie. The first time viewing is bound to be confusing. However, The Assassin will reward you if you are patient and willing to put in the efforts to understand its story. In my first viewing the movie thoroughly confused me, but afterwards for days I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I decided to watch it again. In my second viewing, the movie clicked for me and I came to appreciate its quiet beauty and its cinematic artistry. This movie is definitely not for everyone and I recommend it only to those cinema aficionados who like to watch arthouse movies.

  • Feb 27, 2022

    A ponderous slow burn with elegant cinematography. Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's wuxia arthouse drama The Assassin (2015) is an intriguing film. Every scene follows characters in natural beauty with an icy slow pace that just lets you vibe with Hsiao-hsien's atmosphere for The Assassin. The direction leans into ambiance like you're in the room with these characters instead of epic staging. It's all a matter of fact aesthetic. I'm sure The Assassin may bore the average viewer, but if you care to give it a chance, you may find it thoughtful, peaceful, pretty, and moving. Director Hou Hsiao-hsien is certainly a gripping and artful creative with his pensive dramatic reflection on the entire wuxia genre. The action is short and sublime with inspired sequences, then everything leans into the tragic drama. It's all about a young assassin, who simply does not want to kill, so you see her prevent deaths and try to make her own path in life despite her teachings. Writers Hou Hsiao-hsien, Chu Tien-wen, Cheng Ah, and Hsieh Hai-Meng's words feel profound with life wisdom and intriguing tactics of belief. The writing is dense as nothing is explained outright, but it's all there for you to take a moment to figure out. The Assassin is purposefully challenging and scarce with a gentle tone. The Assassin is one of the best looking films ever made with cinematographers Mark Lee Ping-Bing and Yao Hung-I using stunning wide shots of nature. All the perspectives obscured by veils or night are fascinating. The Assassin is simply breathtaking to look at regardless of the simple plot. Huang Wen-Ying's production design features graceful and ornate sets with an esteem to each room. All the gold props and furnishings are dazzling. The vibrant colors of purple, pink, and black pop for costume designer Huang Wen-Ying's lavish robes and slick armor. Shu Qi's black assassin garments look wicked cool. Shu Qi is stunning in a near silent role as our heroine assassin Nie Yinniang. She's very subtle with her elegant face and emotional expressions of sorrow and conflicted feelings. She has to act with swift attack motions and nuanced facial expressions. Chang Chen is interesting and exciting as Lord Tian Ji'an. Nikki Hsieh is lovely and empathetic as Concubine Huji as she feels sadness and empathy for Shu Qi's Yinniang. Xu Fan's nun is eerie in her own way. Zhou Yun is excellent and serene as Lord Tian Ji'an's wife, especially when she says she felt sorry for Shu Qi's Yinniang. Editors Liao Ching-Sung and Huang Chih-Chia rarely cut away within scenes, so The Assassin always feels lived in and carefully cut. It's a short picture at only 105 minutes long, but the slow burn pacing keeps it feeling fleshed out in Hou Hsiao-hsien's own elegant manner. Composer Lim Giong's score is minimalist with pounding drums and soft strings interchanging. I love when the melody rises into an emotional crescendo. The constant droning sounds of a drum hit at night or a sudden creaking wooden door are poignant from sound designers Tu Duu-chih and Wu Shu-yao. In all, The Assassin is worth watching for its captivating beauty and thoughtful storytelling grace.

    A ponderous slow burn with elegant cinematography. Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's wuxia arthouse drama The Assassin (2015) is an intriguing film. Every scene follows characters in natural beauty with an icy slow pace that just lets you vibe with Hsiao-hsien's atmosphere for The Assassin. The direction leans into ambiance like you're in the room with these characters instead of epic staging. It's all a matter of fact aesthetic. I'm sure The Assassin may bore the average viewer, but if you care to give it a chance, you may find it thoughtful, peaceful, pretty, and moving. Director Hou Hsiao-hsien is certainly a gripping and artful creative with his pensive dramatic reflection on the entire wuxia genre. The action is short and sublime with inspired sequences, then everything leans into the tragic drama. It's all about a young assassin, who simply does not want to kill, so you see her prevent deaths and try to make her own path in life despite her teachings. Writers Hou Hsiao-hsien, Chu Tien-wen, Cheng Ah, and Hsieh Hai-Meng's words feel profound with life wisdom and intriguing tactics of belief. The writing is dense as nothing is explained outright, but it's all there for you to take a moment to figure out. The Assassin is purposefully challenging and scarce with a gentle tone. The Assassin is one of the best looking films ever made with cinematographers Mark Lee Ping-Bing and Yao Hung-I using stunning wide shots of nature. All the perspectives obscured by veils or night are fascinating. The Assassin is simply breathtaking to look at regardless of the simple plot. Huang Wen-Ying's production design features graceful and ornate sets with an esteem to each room. All the gold props and furnishings are dazzling. The vibrant colors of purple, pink, and black pop for costume designer Huang Wen-Ying's lavish robes and slick armor. Shu Qi's black assassin garments look wicked cool. Shu Qi is stunning in a near silent role as our heroine assassin Nie Yinniang. She's very subtle with her elegant face and emotional expressions of sorrow and conflicted feelings. She has to act with swift attack motions and nuanced facial expressions. Chang Chen is interesting and exciting as Lord Tian Ji'an. Nikki Hsieh is lovely and empathetic as Concubine Huji as she feels sadness and empathy for Shu Qi's Yinniang. Xu Fan's nun is eerie in her own way. Zhou Yun is excellent and serene as Lord Tian Ji'an's wife, especially when she says she felt sorry for Shu Qi's Yinniang. Editors Liao Ching-Sung and Huang Chih-Chia rarely cut away within scenes, so The Assassin always feels lived in and carefully cut. It's a short picture at only 105 minutes long, but the slow burn pacing keeps it feeling fleshed out in Hou Hsiao-hsien's own elegant manner. Composer Lim Giong's score is minimalist with pounding drums and soft strings interchanging. I love when the melody rises into an emotional crescendo. The constant droning sounds of a drum hit at night or a sudden creaking wooden door are poignant from sound designers Tu Duu-chih and Wu Shu-yao. In all, The Assassin is worth watching for its captivating beauty and thoughtful storytelling grace.

  • May 14, 2021

    It Transience its genre This Drama I highly recommend

    It Transience its genre This Drama I highly recommend

  • May 07, 2021

    The Assassin's visuals are sure to stun while it's pace it sure to snore.

    The Assassin's visuals are sure to stun while it's pace it sure to snore.

  • Dec 23, 2020

    It looked good, but that was probably all there was to it, and all that we needed.

    It looked good, but that was probably all there was to it, and all that we needed.

  • Sep 28, 2020

    The Assassin suffers because of a disconnect - potential viewers see the poster or read a summary, their mind immediately jumps to "action martial arts movie", and they walk into the theatre with those very particular expectations in mind, only to find that the pacing has the urgency of a three-toed sloth. What the film does have instead is great set design, vivid color, solid sound editing, mature performances, and good direction. The action scenes, while intermittent and usually short, are well-composed. A great wuxia film that bucks the trend of martial arts films of the past 20 years, particularly in this subgenre, which have seen increasingly greater investment and public interest, but whose production teams only seem to funnel that money into greater technical competency, leaving narrative quality and scriptwriting to wither on the vine and practically ensuring that the film in question will fall out of favor once the effects lose their luster. The Assassin, however, has a shot at a much more tenacious degree of influence. (4/5)

    The Assassin suffers because of a disconnect - potential viewers see the poster or read a summary, their mind immediately jumps to "action martial arts movie", and they walk into the theatre with those very particular expectations in mind, only to find that the pacing has the urgency of a three-toed sloth. What the film does have instead is great set design, vivid color, solid sound editing, mature performances, and good direction. The action scenes, while intermittent and usually short, are well-composed. A great wuxia film that bucks the trend of martial arts films of the past 20 years, particularly in this subgenre, which have seen increasingly greater investment and public interest, but whose production teams only seem to funnel that money into greater technical competency, leaving narrative quality and scriptwriting to wither on the vine and practically ensuring that the film in question will fall out of favor once the effects lose their luster. The Assassin, however, has a shot at a much more tenacious degree of influence. (4/5)

  • Jun 13, 2020

    The Assassin may not be for everyone due to the slow pacing and limited action. But as a story telling movie, The Assassin achieved the narrative in a positive way. I love the performances, dialogue and cinematography. I felt that the movie should work on more action and average pacing. But the movie did ok. Overall, The Assassin is a good movie made from China.

    The Assassin may not be for everyone due to the slow pacing and limited action. But as a story telling movie, The Assassin achieved the narrative in a positive way. I love the performances, dialogue and cinematography. I felt that the movie should work on more action and average pacing. But the movie did ok. Overall, The Assassin is a good movie made from China.

  • May 25, 2020

    The backdrop is the only character in this Movie worth knowing.

    The backdrop is the only character in this Movie worth knowing.

  • May 17, 2020

    As everyone else has noted, visually stunning and beautiful to look at it, but glacially paced and the story leaves a lot to be desired. You’re constantly left waiting for a big moment or reveal, but there are very few pay offs. High art at its most inaccessible, commendable filmmaking but just not my cup of tea.

    As everyone else has noted, visually stunning and beautiful to look at it, but glacially paced and the story leaves a lot to be desired. You’re constantly left waiting for a big moment or reveal, but there are very few pay offs. High art at its most inaccessible, commendable filmmaking but just not my cup of tea.

  • May 01, 2020

    Merkeze karşı en büyük muhalefeti yürüten Weibo Hanedanlığı'nda generalin 10 yaşındaki kızı Yinniang, bir rahibe tarafından kaçırılır. Dövüş sanatlarında ustalaşan Yinniang, zalim ve yozlaşmış bürokratları öldürmek üzere eğitilir, eşsiz bir suikastçıya dönüşür. Bunu okuyunca insan umutlanıyor ama film öyle ağır ki filmden geriye şahane görsellik, uzun ve tek planlar, doğa sesleri kalıyor. Takip etmesi gerçekten zor.

    Merkeze karşı en büyük muhalefeti yürüten Weibo Hanedanlığı'nda generalin 10 yaşındaki kızı Yinniang, bir rahibe tarafından kaçırılır. Dövüş sanatlarında ustalaşan Yinniang, zalim ve yozlaşmış bürokratları öldürmek üzere eğitilir, eşsiz bir suikastçıya dönüşür. Bunu okuyunca insan umutlanıyor ama film öyle ağır ki filmden geriye şahane görsellik, uzun ve tek planlar, doğa sesleri kalıyor. Takip etmesi gerçekten zor.