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poignant and beautiful
7 January 2010
I will be thinking about this movie for a long time. It is one of the visually most beautiful movies I have ever seen. The acting and plot and dialogue are all top notch. I'm talking myself into giving it 10/10.

The protagonist genuinely develops as the film progresses and your views on each of the main characters continually shifts. One of the most powerful elements is that you do feel pity for the protagonist even after her petulant and vindictive behavior.

The title of the movie appeared very odd to me. Probably the most apt title of any film as the weary rituals of the ancient household form more and more meaning. The symbolism of raising the red lantern is the soul of the picture. It represents the total power of the polygamist over his harem.

Spoiler: One of the most interesting displays of this dichotomy between the power of the men and women that the man is having an affair. But when discovered nothing happens. He is already legitimately sleeping with 4 women. When wife number three is caught the penalty is death. I also loved the little power the women enjoyed: whomever has the lantern may set the menu. Our protagonist decides that what is happening is beneath humanity and would rather die than be part of it.

The film feels slow burning but the intensity builds and builds as layers are added to the plot and each character. For a fan of foreign cinema: unmissable.
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A modern Epic to rival those of old
18 August 2009
A truly great piece of cinema. The dialogue and cinematography are more in line with old epic cinema. The supporting case shines, and Scott's direction is impeccable as always. In and era of zeal and religious excess the central message is that there are good people and bad people; it doesn't matter the tribe you from which you come. Christians and Muslims are portrayed differently. We see the hypocrisy of Christianity as portrayed by the Templars and it's golden rule followers as represented by the King, Tiberius and of course Baliol and his father Geoffrey. We do not see Muslims as central characters but the ones we do are wise and temperate. It would be an insult to otherwise: Salhadin is one of the great figures of history and Islam and should be treated as such. He is the one character from the film that everybody will have prior knowledge of. The usual criticisms are the performance of Orlando Bloom and the bizarre hippy Brendon Gleeson. The first I say is not bad acting by any means: Baliol is supposed to be tempered: not crying and going into fits and rages. The hippy thing though: if there was one baron that ever did that then fine, but I seriously doubt it!
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24 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The girl is the devil? Possibly, maybe. Didn't she describe herself as a student? It seems to me that Depp really wanted to work with Polanski and got stuck with this crap. Nobody will be talking about this film in 20 years, I'm sorry to break it to you for fans of the film. Many parts of the plot are ridiculous. Depp runs out of a burning building in broad daylight and passes the secretary (who knows who he is) and isn't arrested? The hotel lets a strange woman in his room? The fight scene at where he ends up stuck in the floor is a very poor plot device. The use of special effects every time the girl appears on the screen to give her a demonic appearance are naff. The whole devil worshiping and who is the bad guy things is rubbish and this film belongs in the same bargain bin as Bless the Child.
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