There's been a lot of buzz about this film, all of which appears to be in rush of orgasmic ohmyfuckinggodhowgoodisthisfilm, but the reviews never actually seem to say what's good about it, except that it's pretty. Now, I haven't read many of the reviews of the film--I've just heard the buzz, most likely--but what that buzz appears to not be taking into account is that, firstly, it's boring, secondly, it's propaganda, and thirdly, it's really boring.
The problem with Hero is that it's really obvious. The moment Nameless, Jet Li's character, begins to speak, you know it's not the truth. The pacing is the big tip off, but mostly, you'd just have to be a bit on the stupid side not to figure that. You know, then, that there's no real reason to get emotionally invested in the tragic lovers, Broken Sword and Flying Snow, because the way that they died is so obviously not the truth. Just as, when Nameless has finished and the Emperor speaks, you know that the version he tells will not be true. At this stage, you've been in a film for over an hour, waiting for the moment in which the real story begins, and where you can begin to get emotionally invested...
Only to find that the time for that has passed.
By the time the third version--the truth--came out, I just didn't care. Why would I care about watching these people die a-fucking-gain? When the quarrels between the Broken Sword and Flying Snow began for a third time, I yawned, and decided that they should hurry up and die. Having already seem them weep and cry over there deaths previously, I figured that the third one would be no different, and lo! it was not. Also, am I really suppose to look forward to seeing the servant girl, Moon, who screams and dies and gets beaten in each version of the story? The moment her eyes started to water, I groaned and wondered how someone could honestly think doing this to me three times would make the film more interesting?
That's the films real fault. It's boring. There's nothing to care about.
Of course, within that, there is the Government Propaganda. I just loved that. Just what I needed: a film that told me that the country was more important than the individual, and that as soon as a person gave into their individual emotions, and placed them above the country and government, then they would be selfish and ignorant and ultimately die tragically. The Emperor would shed a tear for you as a hundred black clad toadies chanted that you had to be made an example of you Nameless assassin you... and look, if the film had been interesting, maybe I would've forgiven it this. Maybe. This kind of goes outside my person belief system: I think the individual is more important than the Government and the country. It's not a simple division at the point of politics, and I don't ever reckon anything is black and white, but to avoid a long entry about why I think that is wrong, lets just say it's not for me and leave it there. The film is pretty black and white in its portrayal of the Government line, and it's hard to digest, I found. That said, I like experiencing films and books about different cultures than mine, but this is just so heavy handed, and so obviously about giving the Government a voice in a beautifully wrapped candy that it is shifted into being the reason for the film to exist. No party line, no film, basically. Perhaps, of course, the reason why the film has been so embraced by Western countries of late is because Western Governments are all about defending the country and the unified land and not about the individual. The individual is clearly not important in the currently political climate going round, and perhaps Hero is speaking to Western audiences on this level.
It's a lovely thought, isn't it?
But mostly, the film is just boring. Really, really boring, but with a pretty colour scheme.