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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

[11/10] Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon (2000)

Watching "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is almost like watching your own dream evolve on the screen. Ang Lee has created a visually stunning, lyrical, poetic film that is engaging on a number of levels: The brilliant choreography ,by master Yuen Woo-Ping, especially in the sword fighting scenes, is absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing, as is the ability of the characters to defy gravity and literally soar up the sides of walls, across rooftops and into the tops of trees; there are sequences in this film that will literally take your breath away. And then there's the story itself, which is nothing less than a meditation on life and the quest for that often elusive butterfly of inner peace and the resolution and acceptance of one's own destiny. Blended seamlessly together by Lee, it becomes an artistic triumph of the silver screen that is truly magical; Peter Pau's cinematography is lush and exotic, with vivid hues and immense backgrounds. The sheer poetic nature of the film is unforgettable, the images of which will remain in your mind's eye forever. The charismatic Chow Yun-Fat is perfectly cast as Li Mu Bai; there is a subtle, introspective quality he brings to the character that is sublime in it's sensitivity-- that of a man of strength and integrity, worthy of the legendary status accorded him as a warrior, and the respect bestowed upon him as a man of principle. It's an honest portrayal that rings of truth, which Yun-Fat conveys so succinctly and credibly. Michelle Yeoh is outstanding as well, exhibiting adroit physical abilities in the action sequences, while also demonstrating her gift as a dramatic actress. Most importantly, she makes Shu Lien real, and there is a definite chemistry between her and Chow Yun-Fat that brings the story even more vividly to life. But the most exciting discovery of the film is the young Zhang Ziyi, who is absolutely magnificent in the role of Jen Yu, the Governor's daughter. It's an extraordinary performance, energetic and charming, and Ziyi has a screen presence that is riveting and commanding of attention. She has a tremendous physical dexterity, and her martial arts engagements with Yeoh and Yun-Fat are melodious and utterly captivating, as is her skill with a sword. The supporting cast includes Chang Chen (Lo), Gao Xian (Bo), Hai Yan (Madame Yu), Wang Deming (Tsai) and Li Li (May). They all did a great job. Tan Dun's music is moody and dream-like, adding to the impression that you are almost watching someone's dream unfold before you. Through the combined efforts of Lee's direction, the exemplary performances of his actors and the expertise of a number of technicians, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is a film of ethereal magnitude that transports the audience to another time and another place. Rarely has the screen been graced with with a film of such grace and beauty, and seeing it is a truly memorable experience. "Wo Hu Cang Long" is Ang Lee's masterpiece!

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