Lust, Caution – Movie – Review

Lust, Caution

Strongest weapon is…sex!


With no end in sight for the occupation, Wong–having emigrated from Hong Kong–goes through the motions of her existence. Much to her surprise, Kuang re-enters her life. Now part of the organised resistance, he enlists her to again become Mrs Mak in a revival of the plot to kill Yee, who as head of the collaborationist secret service has become even more a key part of the puppet government. As Wong reprises her earlier role and is drawn ever closer to her dangerous prey, she finds her very identity being pushed to the limit…

Native and/or alternate titles: 色,戒; Sè, Jiè; Sik, Gaai; Set Kai
Year: 2007
Countries: China, Taiwan, USA
Languages: Mandarin, Shanghainese, Cantonese, Szechwanese, Japanese, Hindi, English
Genre: Drama, Suspense, Thriller, Romance
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: Hui-Ling Wang, James Schamus – [Lust, Caution by Eileen Chang – Buy it from Amazon or Amazon India]
Cast: Tang Wei, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Joan Chen, Leehom Wang, Tou Chung-hua, Chin Kar-lok, Chu Chih-ying, Kao Ying-hsuan, Lawrence Ko, Johnson Yuen, Fan Kuang-Yao, Anupam Kher, Shyam Pathak, Akiko Takeshita, Hayato Fujiki


This film is suitable only for adults. Contains borderline pornographic scenes including some frontal nudity and a rape scene.

Buy ‘Lust, Caution’ from Amazon


This story is about a group of young naïve friends decide to do something big and significant as a patriotic act for their beloved country. A young woman who is trapped in a situation which she loathes yet cannot escape it because she has come to love the person she must assassinate. These students started off with performing patriotic plays but decided this wasn’t enough, they must do something more for their country and in this quest they choose to attempt to assassinate Mr Yee (Tony Leung), who has turned to the Japanese forces and betrayed the Chinese. The young woman, Wang Jiazhi (Tang Wei) plays a key role in this plan – she must seduce Mr Yee and lead him to his own doom. The plan is perfect in theory, but the planners forgot to account for one thing – human emotions. During the undercover operation, Wang Jiazhi slowly starts developing feelings for Mr Yee and through their rough, passionate sexual encounters conflicting thoughts take birth in her mind.

Tang Wei and Tony Leung in Lust, Caution
Tang Wei and Tony Leung in Lust, Caution

Sex is probably one of the strongest weapons if used correctly and this movie unsurprisingly shows exactly how devious yet devastating sex, as a weapon, can be, especially when the handler of this weapon starts losing control over their feelings. Therefore, ‘Lust, Caution’ perfectly defines this movie.

Contrary to expectations, this movie develops slowly and steadily yet there is a constant gripping tension and excitement brimming throughout which keeps to hooked to every scene in the movie. Because of this steady pace, the story and the character development is very well displayed. While viewing the progress of the mission we can see and feel the conflicts constantly multiplying in Jiazhi’s mind. The entire transformation of Jiazhi from a normal virgin student to a brave seductress is a phenomenal transition which leaves the audience in awe. To see the sweet innocent Jiazhi become an aggressive passionate lover is a memorable aspect of the movie.

The cast of the film was near perfect! At first, I thought the film would be driven by Tony Leung, given his acting ability and experience but I was yet again proved wrong. The film was 100% driven by the spectacular debut (for movies) performance of Tang Wei. She, very realistically, portrayed her character of Jiazhi and brought to life every single thought of her character. No one would guess from this film that this is her rookie performance in the movie franchise. It’s no wonder that she climbed on the wall of fame and acclaim after this role. Tony Leung is also great as always. His appearance quite resembles his character from “In Mood for Love”, albeit much more vindictive and notorious. Joan Chen and the rest of the cast also deserve a big round of applause. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see Shyam Pathak here! (@Indians: He’s Popatlal from ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chasma’!) He only had a couple of lines yet I made me happy to see a fellow Indian featuring in a Chinese movie.

Tang Wei in Lust, Caution
Tang Wei in Lust, Caution

This film might not be at everyone’s wavelength because of its explicit scenes and a few sex scenes bordering on abusive. Even some adults may find it hard to watch (In fact only adults should be watching it! R-rated content). Some sex scenes are very rough and shocking while others are steamy and passionate and in a way, every single one of these scenes is integral to the film. A burst of beautiful yet disruptive truth and a plethora of wretchedness, ‘Lust, Caution’ shows an ‘evil begets forgiveness’ rather than the classic ‘evil begets evil’ concept. It is rare for a film to possess such subtle nuance and delicious melancholy.


Have you seen ‘Lust, Caution? If yes, then what do you think about it? If not, then are you interested in watching it? Comment below!

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About Mit

A proud introvert with a love for the big and small screen world. Have an obsession with the world of Asian Cinema. Welcome inside my Asian plagued mind.

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