Can we talk about that scene? Tony Leung in Lust, Caution
'Can we talk about that scene?' is a periodic instalment where memorable scenes are discussed. Given the nature of these pieces, we will be entering major spoiler territory and the film(s) in question will be stated upfront. For additional entries, please click here.
SPOILER ALERT for Lust, Caution (2007).
When it comes to acting, Tony Leung is hands down the most talented and revered actor to have come out of Hong Kong. And I think it's safe to say that his best actor win from Cannes (In the Mood for Love, 2000) pretty much solidifies him as one of the most revered imports out of the entire continent of Asia, period. Privy to any discussion about Tony Leung's acting is the use of his eyes. Arguably an essential piece of any actor's toolset, the eyes are often the primary point of focus when it comes to someone's performance. And with Tony Leung, it almost seems as though he was born to act because those eyes give him a very natural ability to fracture and haunt a viewer's imagination.
Case in point, that scene in Lust, Caution when Tang Wei's character finally reveals her betrayal to him. The sudden change in emotion that is anchored so beautifully by his eye contact with hers is completely transformative. We go from comforted lover to angered victim, with flashes of the tyrant that defines his character throughout the film, all in an instant and with complete accuracy. There's a whole slew of emotions that this quick 2-3 second moment had to convey, and Tony Leung conveyed everything (and more) so effortlessly. I don't think there's any other Asian actor who could do what this guy does. You can put him in the dullest movie (and he's definitely been in some of those), and his performance will still not disappoint. Here's hoping that he never stops working.