NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2015—THE ASSASSIN Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “The Assassin,” part of the 2015 New York Film Festival, is easier on the eyes than on the brain. Cinematically, this is as gorgeous a film as you are ever likely to see. Plot-wise, it is hard to follow as the story evolves in a complex path of intrigue in 9th century China as the Tang Dynasty struggles in its twilight period.

Attractive actress Shu Qi plays Nie Yinniang, who is trained as an assassin and given assignments that generate conflict for her. When she goes about a killing, the brutal act is swift, and against the background of idyllic examples of countryside in the lushly filmed scenes, one is struck by the contrast between death and beauty.

The director has an eye for nature, and one is repeatedly impressed by the breathtaking visuals. Alas, there is also the convoluted story that can make much of the tale boring even while one marvels at the scenery. A Well Go USA release.

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