Sunday, August 29, 2004

Hero with Jet Li, not the Dustin Hoffman movie

So, I promised a review on Friday. If you followed my advice (which, since no one is reading this blog yet, is highly unlikely) you saw a really beautiful film. Chris Doyle, the Director of Photography is unbelievable, and most of his other recent films have not been epics like this but smaller films. In any case, I plan to seek out his other work to view it. But back to Hero...

I expected the wire fu and the beautifully choreographed fight scenes. I even expected some mystical aspects. What I didn't expect was the message and how it would make me think about the film after I saw it. The artistry on the screen stays with you, but the message sticks in your head. To summarize the film: Jet Li plays a warrior who is summoned by the Emperor to tell how he has supposedly killed three assassins who threatened the Emperor. Jet Li appears and tells his tale, but the Emperor doesn't believe his story. The stories are told in flashbacks with alternate stories presented.

The "message" of the film I keep referring to is difficult to discuss without spoiling the film, but I'll try. One character in the film says that the Emperor must not be killed because though he is a murdering tyrant he is working for the greater good of uniting the warring factions of China (which 2000 years ago was not a single united country but 8 provinces with their own warlords). The question raised here is, do the ends justify the means? Is this character right? And not only that, if looked through the lens of the Chinese government today, is it mere propaganda to support a Communist paradigm (the whole is greater than the one)?

I'll admit, I just woke up about 20 minutes ago, so I'm not in full pontificating mode yet. When I am (and after I've done some reading on China), I'll be back to ponder more.

In any case, go see Hero. If for no other reason, so you can help me sort all of this out...

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