Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Lust, Caution (2008)
18Contains strong sex

Ang Lee's follow up to Brokeback Mountain is another tale of forbidden passion, but instead of dewy-eyed cowboys, the lovers are opponents in a deadly game of espionage. In Japanese occupied Shanghai, a young woman named Wong Chia Chi (Tei Wang) is recruited by the resistance to seduce the powerful Mr Yee (Tony Leung), a collaborator with the invaders. Over the course of several years, their relationship develops from mutual deception into a terrible sado-masochistic dependence.

Lust, Caution sees Ang Lee using the sedate formality of his earliest releases to tell a far more explosive story. Be warned: this is a film which proceeds at exactly its own pace, allotting as much screen time to the gossip of society ladies playing Mah-Jong as it does to a heart-stoppingly brutal killing. Much fuss has been made of the extremely frank sexual encounters between Leung and Tang, but the controversy is pointless: the sex is integral to the film. More than that even; the sex is the film. That title says it all really, Lust, Caution exists in the uneasy territory between orgasmic abandonment and suspicion. It's more like a chess game than a romance.


Leung and Tang, the old timer and the newcomer, both submerge themselves in the emotional muck with enormous courage, and Lee frames their helpless struggles with the cool detachment of a lepidopterist pinning a butterfly. This is a stern, steely film that requires considerable patience, but stick with it for long enough and you'll be rewarded with a mesmerising study in emotional cruelty.

Lust, Caution is out in the UK on 4th January 2008.

End Credits

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Eileen Chang (story), James Schamus

Stars: Wei Tang, Tony Leung, Joan Chen, Chung-Hua Tou

Genre: Drama, War

Length: 158 minutes

Cinema: 04 January 2008

Country: USA/China/Taiwan/Hong Kong

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