Sincerely one of the great topics any film can take for itself is the impenetrable articulation of ego on set. How a director can possibly hope to capture the ramifications of the off-stage problems and the dramatics that may plague a film’s production is itself an act of egotism. But to slate director Olivier Assayas as an egotist is a remarkable miss of the real point at heart for his feature Irma Vep. It is the personal touch Assayas adds to his feature here that marks it as a more natural, nuanced portrayal of the spinning plates of any star or director. The behind-the-scenes bureaucracy and paperwork captured with such accepted disgust for it all.
Proof that a flash colour scheme is not enough to salvage a film with as much prose and interest as sand or a moderately yellow banana, Hero cements itself in mediocrity and refuses to budge. Enjoyable, yes, its simplistic story detailing a nameless man (Jet Li) setting out on a quest to defeat three assassins is one of definite potential. But director Zhang Yimou is far more focused on picking out the right shade of azure for his backgrounds than he is on bringing any colour to an underwhelming chain of events. Traditions and battles lead into one another with relative indifference, so long as the camera is stood the right way up and the actors aren’t weeping with fear or distress then Yimou has accomplished his contractual obligations.