Hero ★★★★½

What I love about the visual aesthetic of Zhang Yimou's Hero is that it isn't overwhelming. Obviously the arbitrary colour schemes are one of the best known features of the film, but it's the way that bodies, landscapes, and weapons don't always match that unifies the film across its bright alternating colours.

Hero is a nationalistic film, which in a wider context makes me consider the way that we treat the ideological stances of cultures different to our own. It seems to me that an ideology we condemn in our own country we may support in another. Of course, there's nuance regarding the implementation of ideology in different cultural contexts. Hero itself actually goes beyond its story of the creation of the Chinese empire, because there's debatably a global subtext (depending on both your thematic interpretation of the film and the subtitle track you're reading).

Finally, Hero has one of the best cast lists ever. A film with Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi, and Donnie Yen in supporting roles just has to be great, right? Plus Jet Li is in the lead role, just to ensure it's a star-studded effort. There is too much talent in this film!

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