The Assassin

The Assassin

Hou Hsiao-Hsien (2015)

101min
12A Certificate
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Review

Our Score
The dynamic but treacherous glory days of China's Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) are revisited in this frequently beautiful but somewhat enigmatic martial arts drama by veteran Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien. The assassin of the title is a woman, Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi),who first appears in the film's minimalist black-and-white prologue as a girl, taken from her family and trained as a cool, efficient killer. From here, the movie explodes into gorgeous colour and we are transported to the province of Weibo - Yinniang's childhood home. Now a woman, Yinniang has returned with orders tomurderlocal governor Lord Tian Ji'an (Chang Chen), who is also her cousin. Though she could kill him in a heartbeat, Yinniang misses several chances, revealing a hidden secret that threatens to compromise the mission. Episodic scenes of violence ensue but fans of martial arts should bed in for something more slow, spare and mysterious than the likes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Nevertheless, this exquisite ninth-century epic earned Hou the best director award at the Cannes film festival.

Summary

A hitman is hired by two notorious gangster brothers to murder a politician. He falls for a woman during the assignment, but does not realise she is his victim's daughter. Her investigation of her father's death threatens to cause a gang war and puts the assassin at odds with his employers. Crime thriller, starring Danny Dyer, Gary and Martin Kemp.

Cast & Crew

Nie Yinniang Shu Qi
Tian Ji'an, the governor of Weibo Chang Chen
Lady Tian Yun Zhou
The mirror polisher Satoshi Tsumabuki
Princess Jiacheng / Princess-nun Jiaxin Sheu Fang-yi
Director Hou Hsiao-Hsien
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Other Information

Language: MandarinColourTheatrical distributor: Studio CanalGuidance: Some violence.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 22 Jan 2016
Drama