Tiny Couch Review

Hero, 2002

  • Thami
    Thami
    Super Critic

    50 posts
    Signed up the 30/03/2017

    On 15/01/2018 at 10:44 Quote this message

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    “Martial arts and music share the same principles. Both wrestle with complex chords and rare melodies.”

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    Hero is a mythical martial arts film directed by Zhang Yimou with Chris Doyle in charge of cinematography & Tan Dun handling the films musical score. Hero boasts a cast full of numerous legendary Chinese actors including Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Maggie Cheung, Chen Daoming, Tony Leung & Zhang Ziyi.

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    Thousands of years ago before China was one nation it was a land divided into various warring kingdoms. The King of Qin sought to end this endless chaos by starting a war of unification. The other states employed three assassins of unmatched skill to assassinate the King of Qin in order to end his war of unification. One day a prefect known as Nameless arrives at the Qin capital city claiming that he has vanquished all three of the kings would be killers. As a reward for his valor Nameless is allowed to dine with the king who requests that the prefect recount to him the extraordinary tale of how he defeated his opponents.

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    Hero is a true masterpiece of its genre that pushes the boundaries of what to expect in a martial arts film. The brilliance of this film lies in how the story unfolds. When the king of Qin requests that Nameless recount the tale of how he defeated each of the three deadly assassins the audience is shown flashbacks of how each battle proceeded & the events that led up to those battles. However as the story progresses the audience begins to realize that Nameless may not be telling the truth about the events that transpired & we being to relive the flashbacks again but this time from different perspectives changing the entire story & even the personalities of the characters. This sort of storytelling where one event or a series of events occur but characters each give a different account of what happened during this event is known as the “Rashomon effect”. This idea of showing an event from different perspectives of helps us understand the plot of a story as well as the characters motivations as often within a story the truth is fractured and hard to come by so through the Rashomon style of storytelling it allows us the audience to piece together all the viewpoints of the characters involved in order to obtain the full picture of the truth.

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    I loved how when we witnessed each characters perspective of what happened the colour theme would change that would often symbolize how the characters were feeling or what the mood of the scene entailed. This is effect is honestly so beautiful to behold & made me feel like I was watching a timeless Asian art house film. Kudos has to go to the director of photography Chris Doyle who is known for his work in classic films like Chungking Express, Happy Together & In The Mood For Love which are all renowned for their gorgeous & evocative visuals.

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    Hero is a triumph of a film that does a beautiful job of bringing to life one of China’s most prominent legends. Not only where the visuals of this film stunning but it also has a truly heartfelt story character driven story that deals with themes of love, revenge, & the concept of “The Greater Good”. Honestly this film is extremely underrated and does not get as much love as it should compared to other notable martial arts films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or The House Of Flying Daggers.

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