The Assassin

Director: Hou Hsaio-Hsien
Year Released: 2015
Rating: 2.0

Female assassin Yinniang (Shu Qi) is sent to eliminate Tian (Chang Chen), except she can't bring herself to do it, as the two are cousins. It's been seven years since Hou has made a feature length film, but you can't take his old ways away from him: this is a mood piece, full of ambience and gorgeous cinematography, but there's precious little substance, as he could still care less about developing a story or characters (he successfully manages to make strip sword/knife battles of their explosive energy). If elegance is your primary reason to watch a movie, Hou is your dealer; if you expect investment in the destiny of the characters, expect to be disappointed (that being said, this is probably his most accessible work to date, aside from perhaps Millennium Mambo).