A beautiful film which bored me to no end

by Martin Hafer

The Assassin is a Taiwanese film that I can appreciate even though I didn’t particularly like it. This is because it’s obvious that the filmmakers worked hard on the film but it still isn’t a movie I’d want to see again. How, exactly, did they work hard? Well, the film is set in 7th century China and instead of using modern language, they actually had the actors speak in this dead Chinese language! This means that everyone watching the film will need to use the captions that accompany the movie…much like what they did when they used ancient Aramaic when the film The Passion of the Christ was made. Additionally, the sets and costumes are lovely…and the hairstyles and people look much like they do in old scrolls of the era.

The Assassin
Directed by
Hsiao-Hsien Hou
Qi Shu, Chen Chang, Satoshi Tsumabuki
Release Date
16 October 2015
Martin’s Grade: C-

So why was I so lukewarm about The Assassin? Well, you’d think that considering the film is about a female assassin that it would have a lot more energy. Instead, the energy only occurs on occasion…and not often enough. While I have watched thousands of foreign films, this one was one of the most difficult to watch because of the low energy and very deliberate pacing. In fact, I actually kept falling asleep and had to force myself to keep watching. A box of No Doze pills and a pot of coffee clearly would have helped! This was made worse because often instead of seeing things happen, you heard them described. Overall, it’s a hard film to love and one that is easy to skip. Not a bad film, but certainly one I did not enjoy. If you care, the film is out this week on DVD through Netflix.