Inscrutable. That sums up Director Hsiao-Hsien Huo’s The Assassin.
Yes, there were incredibly beautiful costumes by Wen-Ying Huang, a good performance by Qi Shu as the Assassin and some wonderful static scenery shots by Cinematographer Ping Bin Lee.
But, when the camera moved or didn’t move, as the action was happening just off screen, I wondered how Huo was named Best Director at the Canne Film Festival. It made me think of an old film in which sexist men brought unsuspecting, unattractive women to what they called a “Pig Party.” I thought, perhaps, the French judges were picking out the worst possible directing and making fun of the Director named Best. Honestly, a first-year film student would know better than to make some of the ridiculous choices made by Huo.
There are some restful scenes with birds singing, during which you can take a few short naps and, as the film progresses, you can have some laughs at the boring and/or idiotic scenes, but, unless you’re into clothes, I don’t think you would want to waste your time with The Assassin.
I give it a 2.2 out of 5.