A patriotic but naive young student volunteers to become a honey trap in a plot to assassinate a collaborator during the Japanese occupation of China during World War II.
Ang Lee’s lavish period spy thriller tells the story of an innocent young girl who finds empowerment through her role as sexual bait for Tony Leung’s ruthless government spy catcher. The plot punctuates tense scenes of fear of discovery with that of attractive naked bodies, writhing and sweating in suitably “erotic” style but beyond that, there is little to it. All of Leung’s suspected activities take place off screen and we learn little of the political situation on a grander stage as the war unfolds. As you’d expect with an Ang Lee project, the performances are immaculate, the visuals beautiful and the direction sensitive, but considering the film’s running time approaches that of The Godfather I expected a lot more in the way of depth and layers to the story.
Lust, Caution’s sumptuously attractive cast and costumes can certainly be enjoyed on a superficial level but I could only have recommend it unreservedly if it were an hour shorter.