movies: dangerous liaisons

dangerous liaisons
The 1988 version of Dangerous Liaisons is on my "Favourite Movies Of All Time" list, and I've seen it many, many times. I also loved Cruel Intentions, the modern American adaptation.

So a Sunday morning trip to see this version of Dangerous Liaisons, set in 1930's Shanghai, was always going to be on the cards.

One of the downsides to knowing one version of a story really well is that you notice all of the places where a different version diverges from it.

And being in another language, with some occasionally very badly translated subtitles (not to mention the odd spelling mistake here and there), it didn't really have the sharp acerbic dialogue of the original.

But being set in the 1930's when Shanghai was home to a mix of Western cultures, the movie has a fantastic look, combining Art Deco with traditional Chinese, both in the sets and costumes.

Sadly, there are a few instances of slightly cheap looking CGI (most notably a balcony scene overlooking the harbour), but when things are real they look exceptionally good.

Cecilia Cheung gives a fairly strong performance as the female half of the scheming pair, although Dong-gun Jang wasn't quite as convincing... and I don't know whether it was a "lost in translation" thing or not, but I didn't really feel like the two of them had very much chemistry together.

I was also slightly disappointed that the writer missed out on covering (slight spoiler) the public humiliation of Cheung's character at the end of the movie, which was a shame because I felt like they set up a couple of very effective ways to do that at the beginning of the movie.

It was an interesting take on the material though... but if I'm being honest, all it really did was make me want to watch the original movie again.

yani's rating: 1 thrown dumpling out of 5

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