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1942, Nanjing (Nanking). Following a series of assassination attempts on officials of the Japanese-controlled puppet government, the Japanese spy chief gathers a group of suspects in a mansion house for questioning. A tense game of "cat and mouse" ensues as the Chinese code-breaker attempts to send out a crucial message while protecting his/her own identity. Written by
The opening of the film already shows some quite different quality from the otherwise dull and hard Chinese films. Visual effect it is, that is what the Chinese doesn't have or has but in a poor way.
However, nice, eyes attracting cg isn't the essence of this film. The script and the performance are the winning factors. Quite like a detective movie, but another way round, "bad" guys searching "good" guys. Clues, dialogs and something unexpected come one after another. Of course, the final answer only shows up in the end. The atmosphere is right: set in a castle, no way to escape, dark and brutal, even bloody. The struggle between Chinese and Japanese in the War time, or to be more general, between the righteous and the evil at that time, is the permanent subject of all time.
Performance of the actors and actresses are beyond reproach. My only disappointment is on Zhou Xu. Nothing in particular, only, say, it can be better.
I have heard that because of the censor some scenes were heavily cut. The cut part must be something even more bloody and scary. However, what should I say, without these scary scenes, the impact of the whole movie would reduce to its half. And I would like to say, the remaining "torture" scenes are not yet entirely convincing, although they are quite enough for the mass majority in China.
In addition, the last scene is quite superfluous, intending to highlight the "old ghost". In an old Chinese saying, painting feet on a snake. In my opinion, silence will do the trick, just let the audience remind themselves.
At the end of the comment: I want more although it is enough!
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