Style Over Substance: The Assassin


If it weren’t for the immaculate visuals in The Assassin, the whole experience would be a snore. I’ve been often frustrated by the commonality of filmmakers’ grammar choices. For all the options available in cinema, many directors choose to frame in the same combination of shots — wide, over-the-shoulder, low angle — again and again and again. Hou Hsiao-hsien is not one of these directors. He creates painstakingly mounted studies in mood in which the form is related to the content inextricably.