If you've listened to stories of people who have survived the horrors of war, or famine or
politically charged, catastrophic, life-changing conflict, there is usually no lack of dastardly characters, near-death feats and high-intrigue romance. Still, none of those stories, no matter how fantastically heroic or operatic in its drama, can compare to the storytelling facility of Wong Kar-wai.
In his film, The Grandmaster, he chronicles the life of martial artist, Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, from his humble beginnings in Foshan, China in the 1930's, to his death in 1972. From the very first seconds of the film, the viewer is transported to an ethereal level of visual spectacle. So much so, when the characters speak, if only to explain Ip Man's journey, the year, the city he has traveled to, his various tests and challenges by other grandmasters, they disrupt the mesmerizing incandescence Wong Kar-wai has created. Every frame of film seems as rich, dense and magically lit as a Renaissance painting. Was the writing crisp? Sure. Were the fighting sequences exciting? Absolutely. It's rare to recommend a film purely for astounding cinematography and visual effects, but wow, The Grandmaster is a feast.