This movie is about an event in Chinese history, The Chu-Han War. It is a popular story, explained through the eyes of Liu Bang. In my view, Liu Bang only seems to be the main character; Han is the main character in reality. The movie is an artistic film rather than a documentary film. Because you can feel the difference between light and shadow, I think Han Xin is the real protagonist, a leader who is bright, attractive and positive. In this movie, the most memorable scene is of Liu Bang struggling with the past in a room that is dark and narrow, just like his heart. Han Xin appears in the sun, in a wild, peaceful place, and he is fearless. The freest person is limited by another person who is trapped in a cocoon around himself. How ironic!
All movies about history tell a story from beginning to end. In The Last Supper, Xiang Yu dies, and Han Xin also dies after Liu Bang becomes emperor. There are other sub-plots about the death of Yuji or how Qin Wang Zi Yin dies.
This movie seldom uses special effects. Instead, the director uses light and shadow to create a special atmosphere. It also creates strong contrasts such as when you see glowing blood inside a gray frame. When Han Xin turned his hand to the sunlight was my favorite moment. Because I watched the movie on a large screen with an overhead projector, the moment was gorgeous. So that the audience can hear the actors clearly, the music in the movie takes a secondary role; you notice it only during the battle scenes.
While I don’t think the movie has much to teach us, it did contain one message that I thought was valuable: “People always look at themself and overlook other people’s desires.” To me, it means that you are frailest when you dwell on your success. Personally, I think this means that I have to do better, even when I am doing my best.
I recommend this movie if you want to view Han Xin in a positive view, or if you want to see how a visually beautiful movie is made.