Lust, Caution (2007) 720p

Movie Poster
Lust, Caution (2007) - Movie Poster
Drama | History
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
Chinese 2.0  
Run Time:
157 min
IMDB Rating:
7.5 / 10 
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Directors: Ang Lee [Director] ,

Movie Description:
Frustrated in his attempts to assassinate Yee, who is an important official in Japanese-ruled Shanghai, Old Wu, who has lost his wife and two sons as well as two women who had attempted to seduce Yee, now recruits Kuang, Mai Tai Tai, and their troupe of drama students from Hong Kong University in yet another attempt to do away with Yee. Mai Tai Tai is chosen to befriend Yee, which she does by posing as the wife of Mak, befriending Yee's wife and her female friends, and then eventually befriending Yee himself. Even though both get together, they do end up going separate ways, only to meet again four years later. This time Mai is all set to entrap Yee at Chandni Chowk Jewellers which is owned by an East Indian man named Khalid Saiduddin. The question does remain: Will she and her troupe succeed?


  • Lust, Caution (2007) - Movie Scene 1
  • Lust, Caution (2007) - Movie Scene 2
  • Lust, Caution (2007) - Movie Scene 1

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Proceed with Caution

Lust, Caution is a polarizing film. I suspect some will see this and love it for the setting, intrigue, costumes, and subtle characterizations. Others will find it plodding, opaque, and full of unsympathetic characters. While I realize most drama deals with topics that are unsettling, Lust, Caution brought it to a new level for me: I was so uncomfortable I very nearly left.

Lust, Caution is a tale about a group of Shanghai college students turned assassin during WWII and the Japanese occupation of China. They plan on murdering Mr. Yee, a government official with ties to the Japanese presence. It's a classic Mata Hari-type tale with a new circumstance and a fresh setting. Wang Jiazhi is a young actress with manipulation and deceit skills that border on the supernatural. Despite the ineptitude of her classmates, she easily takes on an alias, infiltrates Mr. Yee's social circle, seduces him, and falls in love.

We can read Wang Jiazhi's character a few different ways. She can be a naive woman caught up in something much larger than herself, and highly sympathetic. While this isn't precisely wrong, I saw something more: Wang Jiazhi is an extremely twisted character; a devil in a blue dress, and a true femme fatale. She agrees to become a spy not just for acceptance among her peers, but to prove to herself and everyone that she can be a starlet. She's obsessed with movies, and learns to cry on cue. She takes on a life of lies as if it were her own, without hesitation, with seemingly little promise of reward or personal benefit, beyond being able to hobnob with the wealthy and dangerous. When Mr. Lee has sex with her for the first time, he's horribly violent, and she seems to enjoy every minute of it, smirking to herself once Mr. Lee's left her. She does protest to her friends, but I can't tell if she harbors a genuine hatred for her job, or is simply waffling. Eventually, Wang Jiazhi lets her selfish and materialistic ambitions completely overshadow her original goal, and endangers all her friends. Reprehensible.

Beyond having a heroine I hate, Lust, Caution has a paper-thin premise. None of the 6 students involved in the espionage seem to have any strong motivations, with the exception of Kuang Yu Min, whose family was killed by Mr. Yee. None of the supporting characters get much screen time, and their portrayals are callously one-dimensional and forgettable. The assassination group is woefully unequipped to deal with assassinating Mr. Yee, and they owe their success completely to the talents of Wong Jiazhi. Before she seduces Mr. Yee, the students convince Wong Jiazhi to do something unthinkable, which seems to have very little practical value in reality or in the story, except to introduce shock value into the movie - about an hour in, and it gets better (worse?) from there.

The sex in this movie is so explicit it's pornographic. Except instead of being turned on (because I do enjoy porn), I found myself burying my head into my husband's arm, which is a position I usually only reserve for horror scenes. These scenes are important, as they're some of the only scenes that establish the dynamics of the relationship between Mr. Yee and Wang Jiazhi. However, these graphic scenes are so frequent and so long, they're simply gratuitous. We're voyeurs looking in on an extremely unhealthy relationship - the sex appeal is gone and replaced with the grit of realism.

Some of the editing made the film hard to follow, particularly at the beginning, when events are explored non-chronologically, without any exposition. Through all the movie, there's an importance on significant glances, and if you're not clued into them, you might miss some of the story. The film achieves some success at noir, and I found the cultural portrayals to be interesting and accurate (from what I know).

Lust, Caution aims for high cinema and loses credibility in the loose story, shallow secondary characters, and shocking sex scenes. What could have been a coy romance is stripped of its charm when the covers come off and we realize how emotionally immature our heroine is. See this film if the concept captivates you. Anything less may leave you bored, confused, or nettled.

Amazing Film

I saw this film last night and was just stunned with the visual beauty and the quality of the acting by each cast member. If this film doesn't make Hollywood draft Tony Leung ASAP, then nothing will. I want to see him in an American film. I have been waiting ever since "Happy Together". I was sure we would see him after "In the Mood for Love", I was sure some American director would immediately use him. He will certainly take the Golden Horse & Hong Kong awards next year. The question is will Hollywood have the smarts to nominate him. A fabulous actor! Ang Lee is just superb at his craft. How soon can we have another film from him? The details in every scene will require repeated viewings. It was great to see Joan Chen & the new young actors. A wonderful assembly of young talent. Ang Lee always seems to get the best out of actors--in every film.

The best movie I've seen for years

The movie was mesmerizing. It was showed in a small cinema in Pittsburgh and I was almost late before the movie started. Frankly, as the story unfolded little by little, I couldn't help but simply wait to be led into the inner world of the characters. Such suppressed but strong emotion stuck me that I couldn't breathe at some point, fixing my eyes on the screen and forgetting myself.

This movie is definitely a masterpiece. The storytelling, the music, the actor/actress, and those erotic scenes, which are totally indispensable to the whole story, are all beyond expectations! I always wonder what a kind of person Lee must be to get such deep rooted emotions and feelings out of men and women, and present them in front of the audience in such a strikingly artistic but nevertheless authentic way.

I watched the movie yesterday, and I couldn't help but repeat the story in my head again and again. I am not yet ready to give a full perspective of the movie. I guess I can only do so after I myself get out of the story.
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