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12 June 2007 @ 04:38 pm
Hero (Quentin Tarantino Presents)  
I find it hard to view the fight scenes in martial arts movies as fights as opposed to dances. I find I watch them admiring the choreography rather than revelling in the violence in any way. This is possibly why I have no problem when they, almost inevitably, take off and fly about across lakes, jumping between tree tops, etc. etc.

This was more than usually obvious in Hero (or Quentin Tarantino Presents: Hero for Western audiences) which is a visually stunning film throughout. I tried to find an icon that would give a feel for the cinematography but largely failed since its something of a full screen experience. The one you've got is nice enough but fails to convey the sense of composition and colour present throughout the film.

The story is a re-telling of the events surrounding the defeat of three assassins (told first in red, then white then blue - with a side story in green). The implication is that each re-telling gets closer to the true sequence of events but sadly it succumbs to suggesting that the final version is the true one rather than leaving further re-interpretation open.

There are, of course, extremely pretty fight scenes throughout not to mention a certain amount of macho nonsense but I think the film suggests that the macho nonsense is a part of the re-telling not the actual events. It is also a thoughtful exploration of the alternative motives that might drive the three central characters through the same observable sequence of events. On first viewing I also thought the film took an unconventional stance on individualism as opposed to the good of society (especially since I lacked any knowledge at all about the Chinese Emporer at the heart of the film). A bit of googling (for pretty pictures for icons) quickly revealed what should have been blindingly obvious considering the film was made in China, that this is, in part at least, a parable about the virtues of authoritarianism. That said, and lacking any wider context in which to judge its stance, it is an intelligent and though-provoking presentation of an authoritarian regime and those who oppose it and seeks neither to vilify nor mindless praise either side.

Well worth a view, even if you don't normally like martial arts movies.
 
 
 
Susanlil_shepherd on June 12th, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
I must admit that, pretty as it was, I found it a bit boring after about an hour or so. (Prefer Kung Fu Hustle)