Confucius ReviewCatharine Trachsel
It's hard to think of Confucius without making a joke involving obvious advice and even harder to find someone that realizes the philosopher had an exciting and difficult life, but the movie Confucius, starring Chow Yun-Fat, will change your mind.
The film follows the life of the ancient teacher starting with his emergence into the political arena. It also wastes no time in setting him up as a benevolent man. Standing up against his peers, he convinces the ruler of his kingdom of Lu to do away with the barbaric practice of live slave burials when their masters die. Making enemies everywhere he turns, this forward thinking man eventually pushes things too far and loses favor with his lord, causing his exile.
One of the frustrating things with films dealing with the political hierarchy of ancient China is that it becomes very easy to lose track of characters and completely miss who is important and why. One of my favorite things about this movie is that they have subtitles stating the name of a character when they first show up and explaining their importance. It was wonderful not missing half of the subtleties of a good film because I was focusing on who was who. It was a courtesy that I hope more films with follow.
The acting was also something I enjoyed immensely and didn't fail to completely immerse me into the world of Confucius. Chow Yun-Fat is a very intriguing actor and has always surprised me in the roles that he is capable of doing, and doing well. His display of soft-heartedness towards everyone from a lowly slave rescued off the street to his family and kingdom will be something that will catch people off guard. Instead of being distracted by his previous roles, I found myself pulled in and believing. He played his role so well that I had completely forgotten his other works and was able to let myself simply watch.
I also loved watching and listening to the elusive games of wills that often go along with politics. It is always a wonderful change from a media that bombards the mind with constant stimulation to have a film utilize a more delicate way of proposing new thoughts to the viewer. That was, after all, a very important part of what Confucius lived and believed in.
There are more than just battles of words, however. The battle scenes are intense from start to finish and include the gruesome fighting tactics that went along with that era, including the giant spiked posts that are pulled from the ground when the enemy gets close enough. There weren't several of these scenes in the movie, but the ones that were shown weren't glossed over or given any less attention.
Overall, if there was anything negative to say about this film, it was lost on me. The emotional pull of betrayals and tragedies, the beautifully displayed chaos of ancient China, and the immense detail put into every aspect of this film made for a wonderful watch. I would recommend this for someone who wants a movie that's a little deeper than your average film but doesn't want a documentary or something that leaves a person feeling down.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.