The Assassin: On Second Thought Thursday

People will be clamoring for strong female characters, but will dismiss films like The Assassin

AT FIRST, I WAS LIKE: To be quite honest, I don’t remember anything that happened when I first saw it. I saw the Blu-Ray at Best Buy and I thought the cover looked cool. I was under the impression that this was going to be a Wuxia film like Crouching Tiger or Hero so I bought the Blu-Ray under that pretense. I start watching it, and the long shots and lack of action had me blacking out. You ever get blackout drunk and wake up the next day on the side of the street with nothing but your underwear wondering how you got there? Well, that’s how I felt watching The Assassin; I got to the ending but I couldn’t tell how we got there. Don’t hold that against me though, I was a young and naive cinephile and a movie like this was just too much for me to appreciate at the time.

BUT NOW, I’M LIKE: It’s been six years since I’ve seen The Assassin and y’know what they say: second time’s a charm! The things I didn’t like the first time became the best parts about The Assassin. Wuxia films are some of the prettiest looking films ever made and The Assassin is no different. There are a lot of striking colors all shot with some terrific cinematography. Speaking of the cinematography, we need to call Berlin because the cinematography took my breath away! It’s full of these long and lingering shots that might turn off some viewers but if you pay attention to what the camera’s actually doing, you’ll get a lot of insight into the characters. While the cinematography was a banger, I was still having a hard time getting into the actual plot of the film. Too many different characters with difficult names made it hard for me to invest. Also, I couldn’t tell who was who because of how similar most of them looked. Maybe it’s just my lack of brain cells but I was confused. At least the visuals helped hold my attention.

IN THE END, I’M JUST LIKE: The Assassin is definitely not for everyone and if you want something with a bit more energy with a dash of well-choreographed action, then you’re gonna have to look somewhere else. If, however, you don’t mind a slower pace, then The Assassin might be the film for you. I really can’t praise the cinematography and editing enough. The opening sequence is shot entirely in black and white and sets up the world, the story, and the characters with little dialogue. All the information you need on Shu Qi’s assassin is given in those opening sequences. This second viewing was a very rewarding experience for me and I’m looking forward to giving this another watch a few years down the line.

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