Games people play


A scene from the film 'Shanghai'.

“Shanghai” is a pre-World War II spy-romance thriller set in 1941. It traces US spy Paul Soames’ (Cusack) efforts to infiltrate Japanese and Chinese circles in Shanghai so as to track down his partner’s killers and a missing woman.

In the process he comes across an equally challenging Japanese security chief (Watanabe) and Chinese resistance sympathiser (Gong) and her gangster husband (Chow). He is then caught in a muddle of love, patriotism, passion and betrayal.

The best thing about “Shanghai” is its realistic settings. Cusack and Gong also keep up the sexual chemistry quite well. Others like Watanabe and Chow are forced into stereotypical roles. Despite the lack of a hard hitting narration, the old-styled espionage thriller is watchable. “Shanghai” may be nowhere near Ang Lee’s spy epic “Lust, Caution”  but has all the essential ingredients of period spy dramas to keep you engrossed.

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