Login

The Emperor And The Assassin Review

Image for The Emperor And The Assassin

Ying Zheng (Li) and his concubine, Lady Zhao (Gong), seek a shortcut to unification by convincing rival states of his invincibility and stage-managing an assassination attempt.

★★★★★

The most expensive Asian film ever, Chen Kaige's five-chaptered epic passed through four incarnations before he settled on this mammoth version. Even so, the complexity of late third-century Chinese history means it's not always easy to follow the shifting alliances and devious strategies. Ying Zheng (Li) and his concubine, Lady Zhao (Gong), seek a shortcut to unification by convincing rival states of his invincibility and stage-managing an assassination attempt. Taking Fifth Generation opulence to the point of pictorialism, Chen has fashioned an emotionally sterile allegory that challenges the current Chinese leadership's bellicose attitude towards Taiwan and attacks the prevailing consumerist mentality.

Not always easy to follow, but a serious challenge to the Chinese government's attitude to Taiwan and the prevailing consumerist mentality.