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The Last Tycoon (Da Shang Hai) - Film Review

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by Lydia C. Lee (subscribe)
Lydia C. Lee is still trying to work out what to do with her one wild and precious life. She currently is a haphazard blogger. Read more at or
Published January 20th 2013
Visual feast of entertainment

The Last Tycoon is currently in cinemas and I was amazed at how little publicity it has received as it's a sure fire cross-over film. If you have a chance to see it, you want to see this film on the big screen to get the most of some beautiful cinematic moments.

The film is set predominately in the French Concession of Shanghai of the 1930s, and as one would expect, is beautiful to watch. The other charm of the film is that it is not a straightforward narrative, so the story is intriguing as it unravels before you.

It's a love story, a gangster flick and a suspense thriller all rolled into one, presented in an exceptionally well produced and entertaining manner. The cast is charming, casting a spell on the emotions of the viewer - I was amazed at how attached I was to secondary characters that weren't very fleshed out.

It reminded me of Casablanca, though I'm not sure if I can actually explain why, except for the fact that it's a war-torn love triangle of sorts.

It has some fantastic stylised moments, which are hard to describe without giving anything away, but the scene with the umbrellas manages to produce both menace and brutality in the most beautiful cinematic style. It's visually delightful to watch unfold.

The film looks superb, from the buildings and costumes to the Tarantino-esque choreographed fight scenes. The cast is a roll call of all the stars of Asian cinema, but for me, it was the smaller roles that stole the show. If you are not familiar with Asian cinema, this is the perfect film to start with. Even if you don't like Asian cinema, this film will appeal, as long as you have no issue with subtitles.

It's a great looking film that's pure entertainment from start to finish.


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Why? Great film, a joy to watch
Where: In Cinemas / DVD / Blu-ray
Your Comment
Subtitles in the trailer were still in Chinese so despite the impressive visuals it would be difficult to understand the storyline.
by maure6 (score: 0|8) 2090 days ago
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