9 February 2013 9:02 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

The Grandmaster

Dir. Wong Kar-wai

In his bid for redemption for the nearly unanimously maligned My Blueberry Nights, Wong Kar-wai has crafted a sort of epic that sort of works. Beginning awkwardly with an alternately beautiful and illegible action set-piece, The Grandmaster finds its footing when it retreats to the territory of Wong's wheelhouse: unrequited love, careful, minute gestures, montage flourishes that compress time but expand emotions. His broadest strokes are his most successful—echoing images of nostalgia, the prevalent sense of lost time, the emphasized "code of honor" of kung fu. Tony Leung's face remains one of his greatest assets but Zhang Ziyi is the more assertive performer here. Indeed, it is her character's story that takes precedence over that of the Ip Man's, which essentially bookends her's. This makes for one hell of a second act, but as a whole it suffers from a lack of cohesion »

- Adam Cook

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