"Beautiful" and "cruel" that's how director Ang Lee describes Eileen Chang's 1979 short story about obsessive love and effortless betrayal in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, a tale upon which Lee has based his epic-length film Lust, Caution. Writing in the afterward to a recently republished version of the 54-page story (which took Chang more than two decades to complete), Lee finds in those two words a perfect, aching simplicity somehow lacking in his film. While there is copious beauty and bountiful cruelty in the story about the inexperienced assassin who comes to love and crave her merciless prey, Lee lingers too long in the margins. A short story has needlessly swelled into an epic, and it suffers from the... More >>>
Too much of a good thing: Ang Lee stretches a short story to epic proportions.