Rating: NNNNNCROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (Ang Lee, 2000) makes the grand rounds of the reps this week, so catch it.
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (Ang Lee, 2000) makes the grand rounds of the reps this week, so catch it quickly before it shrivels on the small screen. All that’s emotionally nourishing about the film will still be digestible on video: the parallel tragic romances, the master-pupil dialectic, the feminist underpinnings. But let’s face it, Crouching Tiger didn’t become the world’s highest-grossing foreign-language film because it’s good for you. This film triumphs because it taps into our primal dream of flying, of running so fast that we lift off and soar through the air. And this vicarious experience is only possible in a theatre. The first flying sequence comes after 15 minutes of ponderous exposition, when Yui Hsui Lien (Michelle Yeoh) takes off in pursuit of the lissome bandit who has stolen a sword belonging to her beloved (Chow Yun-Fat). They race across rooftops in a way that recalls Peter Pan more than Jackie Chan. Viewers turned off by martial arts and subtitled dialogue should know that there’s more than enough modern humour to make these elements accessible. Lee’s thought of everything. Crouching Tiger isn’t a perfect film, but it’s perfectly thrilling entertainment. NNNNN (April 19, Fox April 20-25, Kingsway)