6.3/10
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101 user 223 critic

The Assassin (2015)

Cìkè Niè Yinniáng (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama, History | 27 August 2015 (China)
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A female assassin receives a dangerous mission to kill a political leader in eighth-century China.

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Writers:

(screenplay) (as Zhong Acheng), (screenwriter) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 30 wins & 61 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Stars: Shu-Fang Chen, Shu-Fen Hsin, Lawrence Ko
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Cast

Credited cast:
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...
Yun Zhou ...
Lady Tian
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Provost Nie Feng
Mei Yong ...
Yinniang' Mother
Zhen Yu Lei ...
Tien Xing (Yinniang's Uncle)
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Huji,Tian Ji'an's concubine (as Hsieh Hsin-ying)
...
Xia Jing, the aide-de-camp (as Juan Ching-Tian)
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Princess Jiacheng / Princess-Nun Jiaxin
...
Lady Tian's Teacher
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Chiang Nu
...
Yinniang' Grandmother
Chun Shih
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Storyline

In 8th century China, 10-year-old general's daughter Nie Yinniang is handed over to a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed in a task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was betrothed - a cousin who now leads the largest independent military region in North China. After 13 years of exile, the young woman must confront her parents, her memories and her long-repressed feelings. A slave to the orders of her mistress, Nie Yinniang must choose: sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins. Written by Ipsith

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

china | black magic | wuxia | nun | love | See All (41) »

Genres:

Action | Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

27 August 2015 (China)  »

Also Known As:

The Assassin  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$47,892, 16 October 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$613,556, 13 December 2015
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Hou told the New York Times in an interview published on 10/07/2015 that he would break the fight scene into smaller parts as the actors weren't skilled fighters. He would also let the actors start fighting when they chose rather than directing them to fight. See more »

Quotes

Xia Jing: [subtitled version] The way of the sword is pitiless. Saintly virtues play no part in it.
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Connections

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Rohan / Duc de Rohan
Music by Pierrick Tanguy
Performed by Bagad Men Ha Tan and Doudou N'Diaye Rose
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
if you're only interested in fighting and killing, this might not be the film for you
31 July 2015 | by See all my reviews

I'm surprised by the bad reviews on IMDb. I think the problem is that a film titled "The Assassin" happens to attract a certain type of audience--people who are only interested in martial arts flicks, or who walk in expecting an action-packed adrenaline ride. You might be disappointed in this film, but I don't think this movie was meant for you.

A previous review mentioned the "depressed, stilted tones" of the actors.

I don't know what you were expecting ... an assassin during the Tang Dynasty to burst out into song about her inner anguish and emotional turmoil? I watched an interview with Hou Hsiao-hsien, the director who won the prestigious Best Director award at Cannes for this very film. He used a tennis analogy to explain it perfectly, so I'm just going to paraphrase below:

"If you watch the tennis greats like Federer or Nadal battling it out, there's not much expression on their faces. The speed that they're going at, the power in each exchange, there's no room for emotions."

The director, Hou, actually instructed Shu Qi (The Assassin) to tone down her expressions. The crew filmed the fight sequences again, and again, and again, until the actors were all bruised up and the fight flowed naturally, by instinct. By this point, there was really no need for dialogue or excessive expressions.

If you're an assassin fighting for your life, kill or be killed, are you really going to be thinking "let me get my blue steel pout ready for the camera"?

If you can get over the need for overly dramatic expositions and go into a film knowing the main character only has approximately nine spoken lines, and if you can enjoy a film for how starkly beautiful it is.... this might be the film for you.


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