on Thu, Nov 12, 2015 at 10:13 AM
There’s something intoxicating about a movie that excels being something you did not expect. A Taiwanese film set 1,000 years ago and called “The Assassin” brings to mind a lot of high-flying action, and while there is some here and there, this is a moody, deliberate, and fascinating picture. Hou Hsiao-Hsien is a director you probably haven’t heard much about, but he just won best director at Cannes this summer, and it’s tough to find a great counterargument. The assassin is portrayed by Shu Qi, who you might recall from the first “Transporter” movie. While she does not show emotion on the job, the film does a great job weaving in her emotions through allegory and flashbacks. This is really good stuff, one of those period martial arts films like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” that transcend the boundaries of genre and into must-see territory.