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Lust; Caution & Django Unchained

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Django Unchained (2012 165 mins)


Django Unchained, the latest effort by Quentin Tarantino, is about the struggle for former slave Django (Jamie Foxx) and his mentor cum partner Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz) to rescue the former slave’s wife (Kerry Washington).

The movie is highly enjoyable, and has laugh out loud funny at times. It was also great to see Leonardo DiCaprio in a villain’s role which, he plays veryit well and with real menace. The film is set in the pre-civil war American South, thus slavery is one of the key themes of the movie. Taratino doesn’t shy away from the more brutal aspects of this period, putting both Django and his wife through a grinding series of ordeals that never let up.

One flaw is the relative passivity of Django’s wife Broomhilda, who throughout the film does little more than gasp and moan at the events that surround her. This detracts from the other strong characters in the film, in particular Schultz who steals the show as the German in America, passing his way through the Old West in a blaze of gunfire, great dialogue and genuine desire to help.

The soundtrack is a mixture of spaghetti western classics with hip-hop in the mix. It takes a bit of getting used to bute the hip-hop goes well with the swagger carried by Foxx throughout the movie.

Lust; Caution (2007 157 min)


Lust; Caution, directed by Ang Lee, takes place between 1938 and 1942, during the Sino-Japanese War. While the war is the catalyst of the movie, there is very little contact with Japanese people. Instead the plot follows a young group of conspirators and their struggle to assassinate a Chinese collaborator.

The plot is somewhat unbelievable, from the start the group is unprepared for their deeds, and as a result the heroine Wong Chia Chi (Wei Tang) is forced to make several pointless sacrifices. However, the movie takes a darker, more explicit turn when the young Wong is once again called to help the Chinese resistance.

Ang does a good job of capturing the hustle and bustle of 1940’s Shanghai, but the driving force of the story is centred around the ambiguous nature of Wong and her relationship with the main antagonist, Mr. Yee (Tong Leung Chiu-Wai). The movie sometimes dwells on their relationship too long, and a lot of the other characters are not developed. Wei Tang does a great job in her role, at times vulnerable, but also possibly the bravest member of the resistance. Her unique role draws up many questions about strength and how to be true to one’s self.

 

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