The latest film by Zhang Yimou, the director of Hero, is House of Flying Daggers. The story is much simpler than Hero, basically involving a love triangle with a few twists, involving identity.
Mei (Zhang Ziyi) is a blind dancer who is suspected of being the daughter of the recently assassinated leader of the House of Flying Daggers, a rebellious group who is trying to subvert the government. Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) goes undercover to “rescue” her from prison in hopes of her leading him to the House’s secret location. In the process, he falls in love with her – but there is someone else who loves her, and will do anything to stop him.
The action is not as “big” as one would expect, but there are definitely some amazing sequences. Of particular note is the fight in the bamboo forest; a visual treat for it’s use of the color pallete (who knew there were that many shades of green?) and camera work combined with the fight choreography.
The movie is really about hard choices, and sacrifice. It might not go over well with a Western audience, but I thought this film was quite good. It doesn’t have as good a visual look as Hero, but it’s definitely one to check out this winter. And as China’s official entry for the Oscar’s, it has a very good shot at it.