Source: Catholic News Service
Superbly crafted romantic tale of a young woman (Tang Wei in an extraordinary feature film debut) who becomes a spy for the resistance during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in the 1930s and '40s, who must seduce a married collaborator (Tony Leung) in order to lure him to his death. Director Ang Lee's glossy adaptation of revered Chinese writer Eileen Chang's short story is a meticulously detailed, beautifully designed period thriller, recalling iconic Hollywood films of that era, with exquisite performances all around, making it all the more unfortunate that Lee felt it necessary to shoot the somewhat aberrant sex scenes so explicitly -- even if just a few minutes out of a long, serious-minded film -- precluding endorsement from a moral viewpoint. Subtitles. Graphic nonmarital sexual encounters, full-frontal and rear nudity, a violent stabbing death, adultery theme, vigilante justice, and a single use of the f-word. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is NC-17 -- no one 17 and under admitted.
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