Coming to Blu Ray and Dvd from Well Go USA on February 12, 2013
Welcome to 2013, and a new adaptation of the 18th century French novel. Most people will remember the best adaptation which was directed by the amazing Stephen Frears in 1988 and had Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman and John Malkovich. Well, while the original tale is set in France before the French Revolution, this version is a Chinese interpretation, and is set in 1930s Shanghai during some very turbulent times for them. While the basis of the story remains the same, the film does try to take a modern approach to this. The story focuses around aging socialite Mo Jieyu and she still finds herself thinking about her ex love Xie Yifan. After years apart, there is still something going on inside them. Then, we get Mo, who is a rich and charming widower who has a taste for things sensuous and also indulgent. She has something for Xie as well, and it seems like Xie has something for her as well.
The story goes on and we learn that Xie has another interest and that is Du Fenyu, who has also captured his attention and his desire. Well, Mo lures Xie into a very deceiving, treacherous and dangerous game of hearts. What that means he has to win Du over, then have sex with her and then dump her to prove that he is an impossible catch. Almost like a modern day Cruel Intentions as well. That is where the problems lie with Xie, does he want to win Moâ€™s game or does he want to keep Du around. All this is set on the war that is looming in Shanghai. While it is almost unfair to compare this with the 1988 version, because this film I feel is strong on its own and almost feels original in ways, if you did not know better.
This film paints a bad and ugly picture of how upper society use their wealth and power, and I feel that is what made this film so interesting and at the same time so cruel in its tone and feel at times, is that it was not afraid to paint an ugly picture of how peopleâ€™s feelings to some absolutely means nothing and that anything in life could be a game to someone. This film also gave me another message that relationships and love to some are nothing more than resting stops, just temporary stays till they can get what they truly want. That anything in life is viewed as a means to advance oneself no matter who gets hurt or feels betrayed.
Mo in this film is the enemy or villain, and she is almost like a smiling killer of sorts, who will love you one minute give you sex and then when you go to cuddle will cut your throat. This film is clever enough that it creeps under your skin, and finds a way to get to your emotions. This film is not afraid to push your buttons and make you react, the characters and script were very well written and I loved that while it tried to stay within the lines of the original, at times it did venture off into its own. The English subtitles at times had some typos, not so bad that you will be distracted from what is happening on screen, but it is noticeable. All in all, while not a perfect movie it was at least worth a watch, and if you are not familiar with this story or the adaptations in the past, this may be a good start to get you sort of familiar with it.
7 out of 10