You know, no movie makes me sadder than ones where two lovers can't be together. Some examples? "Millenium Actress" and "Lust, Caution." I didn't cry when I saw the HK film "Lust, Caution", but it left a disturbingly deep, heart-wrenching feeling. A part of it may have been because of the intimate and (often emotional) camera-holds of the character's expressions. Yeah, the sex scenes were really explicit, but they were necessary. The emotional intrigue is haunting. The hype about the sex scenes is overlooking the transformation of these characters; it's not like the superficial sex scenes in action movies, or vacuous pornography: everything you need to read is right in their eyes. It made the overall feeling of the movie stunningly intense, whether you want it to admit it or not. I must say, the actors were REALLY damn good in this film.
Also, the fact that Tony Leung studied old hollywood actors to better perform his role? Amazing. The way he glides around the screen with this focused look on his face is really hypnotizing. Don't get me started on all the camera angles and movements of everything else. There was so much momentum in every movement I saw. I really enjoyed the fluid, sweeping hand motions of the women playing Mahjong in the beginning; you already know that they indulge in it everyday in order to to forget the world around them.
In conclusion, fuck "The Talented Mr. Ripley". What that movie lacked in, "Lust, Caution" succeeded way up and beyond. These characters are seriously riveting, and more thrilling than Mr. Ripley could ever be.
What I had written about "The Talented Mr. Ripley":
Beautiful visuals; I love the cinematography work in it. It has so many atmospheric elements I love, but.. for a drama/thriller there wasn't enough substance? Something felt missing; I think an "unconvincing character study" hits it pretty spot on. What a shame, because at least the acting was good. Not entirely arresting.. but decent enough. I'm going to assume that the book was much better.