Hundred years ago, three students at the Hellestads Boarding School were brutally slaughtered, the murderer drowned himself in a lake nearby and his body was never found. The story has ... See full summary »
Action superstar Chow Yun-Fat portrays real-life gangster Chen Daqi as he rises to the upper echelons of power, finding himself torn between the love of two women, the murderous plots of the secret service, and the looming threat of war.
The tenants in a building are constantly busy with straightening out their lives. In the midst of all a vacuum cleaner salesman appears that instead of selling his goods he start to listen ... See full summary »
Two Swedish business men are kidnapped in Rome by the Mob, and moved to Sicily. Carl Hamilton is sent to Sicily on direct order from the Swedish Government. He is sent to negotiate for ... See full summary »
An American man returns to a corrupt, Japanese-occupied Shanghai four months before Pearl Harbor and discovers his friend has been killed. While he unravels the mysteries of the death, he falls in love and discovers a much larger secret. Written by
The brainchild of Mike Medavoy, who was born in Shanghai in 1941 and who developed the story through his Phoenix Pictures shingle, project was subsequently bought by Harvey Weinstein while still at Miramax; it took eight years in the making. See more »
Conner and I had joined the Navy like our fathers and grandfathers before us. Our lives were set. Birth, school, Yale, war. The great American tradition.
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This is a fascinating movie in many ways, not least for its partially successful elucidation of a particularly dark period in Shanghai's colourful history. However, "Shanghai" comes across all too often as a confused mish-mash of other movies - Casablanca and The Third Man both spring rather too readily to mind - while offering little of its own in the way of an original plot or any intriguing character arcs.
Solid acting work all 'round. Franka Potente is probably the most watchable of the actors here, despite being less toothsome than Gong Li (who looks every bit her age in this movie but is still ravishingly attractive).
There are a few intriguing glimpses of Shanghai as it might have been in the early 40s, including one particularly well-recreated crane shot of the Bund - although I have to say the ships look just a tad too close to the imposing British-built buildings lining that famous boulevard. There's another shot from inside the Cusack character's hotel room showing a few of Shanghai's classic buildings through the window, clearly digitally composited as those particular buildings could never have been viewed that way from the one vantage point.
However, it seems (judging from the credits) that the vast majority of this movie was shot in Thailand, and thus most of the street scenes and interiors are fairly generic and not particularly evocative of Shanghai's history. For a much better rendition of this you need to have a look at Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution" which treads similar territory (Shanghai, spies, Japanese occupation etc) with much more style.
Indeed I find myself wondering why this movie was made at all, given that pretty much 100% of its thematic territory had been covered by Lee's movie just a couple of years before, and with considerably more chutzpah.
Nevertheless...if you're a fan of any of these actors, it's worth a look.
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