Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ashes of Time Redux

This is a review by our guest reviewer, John.

Magnificent, a wonderful experience. The programme quotes someone as having said of this movie "Memories should be made of this" and that is a good description.

Although not easy to follow the movie spans a year in the life of an agent providing mercenary/assassin services, and delves into the past lives and experiences of the agent, the agents customers (there are two, and these are the same person, who presumably is psychotic) the past lover of one these personalities who is the agent's brother (and a swordsman), his brother's wife, whom the agent also loved in his younger days when he too was a swordsman, and whom the agent asked to elope with him - on her wedding night.

A young poor woman (ie without the money to pay for mercenary services) whose brother has been murdered by local militia, another swordsman & his wife also feature, as does a sizable gang of bandits & said local militia.

There are a couple of fight scenes in the movie, when first the bandits then the militia are eliminated, but these scenes aren't really action, but rather are simply part of the story, and furthermore are shown as a graphic mish-mash of shots & short scenes (with perfect (for the lack of it) lighting) and feels much as it might for a participant rather than being shown to the viewer as an evidently
choreographed hollywood blockbuster might be.

However the strengths of the movie are its insights - a couple of episodes focussing of the thoughts / admissions of its participants about their lives and reactions to other happenings, combined with the richness of the movie's tapestry - music, camera, effects and acting are all profound. Direction is pretty good as well and overall the movie is fantastic.

4 1/2 *'s (+). Unmissable. I would happily pay to see this movie again and would recommend it to anyone mature.

Ian's view in the comment

1 comment:

  1. On John's recommendation I went to the Sunday showing. Visually this is a stunning film, the use of colour contrasts, colour modifications, reflections, camera angles and the frenetic action sequences are extreme compared the realism of most films and even compared to effects in the major CGI efforts like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hence this is not the sort of film to see on TV but at a big cinema with a good sound system to make the most of the sound track (includes cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma). Making it an all enveloping experience. And this film is more of an experience than a story.

    This is probably not a film for your average martial arts fan.

    Ian's rating 4/5