Evan Young’s review published on Letterboxd:
I knew my experience at the movies tonight was going to challenging, even before the film had begun. We had been hoarded off into a small theatre, tucked away in an oddly-shaped alcove, presumably to accommodate those who'd come to see Bridge of Spies or The Martian. There were only 11 of us to begin with, and by the time the film ended, I was just one of three remaining. Clearly, The Assassin isn't for everyone.
As an audience, we're not spoon-fed, nor are we given the all-action bonanza one might expect for a film titled as this one is. The camera, almost dragging, lingers throughout, as does the narrative. But there is something beautiful and subjective in cinematic stillness. It intensifies the decoding process, allowing us to better interpret and project our own colour and meaning onto the characters, setting and dialogue.
Those who left our screening missed out on the best cinematography of 2015. They missed some impressively delicate direction, and one scary fucking female lead. Its a tough film, no doubt, but where's the fun in picking yourself up and taking yourself out just to go through the motions?