Director: Wong Kar-wai
Starring: Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang
As a visual work, Wong Kar-wai's action biopic The Grandmaster is nothing short of spectacular. Photographed by Philippe Le Sourd (Oscar nominated for his work here) the film is crisply, gorgeously rendered, capturing the sumptuousness of the more ornate sets and the brutal precision of the action sequences in equal measure. As a visual piece, it works splendidly. As a story it finds less success, following its characters over the course of twenty or so years and during a period of intense social and political flux and change, but never really finding its center. It's saved by strong performances and perfectly executed action pieces, but remains a film with a measurable disparity between its ambition and its execution.