Movie – Ang Lee, Director; Tang Wei, Actress
This two and one-half hour movie was on a DVD for sale at BigLots, $3.00. English subtitles, Chinese language film shot in China.
This movie is worth seeing. It drives to its denouement, set up well and can reached by acting. The story is about a novice spy (Tang Wei) enlisted to set up a Chinese man who is collaborating with the Japanese during the occupation of China during World War Two. The sets, costumes and art direction are excellent. The novice is part of a cell, the politically leaning of which is not entirely clear except every person detests the Japanese.
The first attempt to set up the collaborator fails. He moves from Hong Kong to Shanghai. the novice returns to her family in Shanghai and lives simply while attending classes. She is recruited by a member of her former Hong Kong cell to approach the collaborator again. She is controlled her handler, who is more senior and experienced in spy craft. He dismisses her inexperience and asks her to do too much.
Tang Wei plays the novice very well in her relations with the collaborator. She mixes the emotions of her first long romance [with any man] with the desire to arrange the collaborator’s killing. Toward the end she is unhinged when she demonstrates her unsettled mind – job and love. It is never stated, but the collaborator suspects the novice of being part of the Resistance.
She fulfills the plan to get the collaborator in a place where he can be killed. But in offering her a ring, the collaborator shows love and care. The ring is on her finger. She wants nothing bad to happen to him; her emotions run against the mission. She warns him, indirectly. He avoids assassination. She has signed her own death warrant along with arrests and death of everyone in her cell.
Only an actress like Tang Wei can pull off the non-verbal communications to tell this story on film.