- 1 hr 45 min
Shanghai is a historical drama movie that takes place in the year 1941 in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, China. It starts with an American Naval Intelligence officer named Paul Soames (played by John Cusack) traveling to Shanghai in search of his friend, Connor (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Connor was sent to Shanghai to investigate a high-ranking government official named Tanaka who had been suspected of selling arms to the Japanese Imperial Army.
Upon his arrival, Soames realizes that Connor has been murdered, and his search for the killer leads him to an intricate web of corruption and political espionage. As he follows the trail left by his deceased friend, he meets the beautiful and enigmatic Anna Lan-Ting (played by Gong Li), a Chinese woman who seems to hide a dark past. Despite the danger and the warnings from his superiors, Soames and Anna team up to unravel the mystery and expose the truth behind Connor's death.
As they dig deeper, the two protagonists discover that the situation in Shanghai is more complicated than they initially thought. There are several factions vying for power and influence, both among the Chinese and the Japanese. The most prominent among them is the Green Gang, led by a charismatic gangster named Anthony Lan-Ting (played by Chow Yun-Fat), who happens to be Anna's estranged husband.
The Green Gang is a force to be reckoned with, and they control much of the city's illegal activities. Among their allies are corrupt officials, wealthy industrialists, and even some foreign powers. Soames and Anna find themselves caught in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, where every move they make puts their lives at risk.
The movie also touches upon the themes of imperialism, nationalism, and personal redemption. Soames, a patriotic American, finds himself questioning the moral superiority of his country's foreign policy. Anna, a former spy for the Chinese Nationalists, is haunted by her past and seeks to atone for her sins. Anthony, the gangster, is torn between his loyalty to his country and his love for his wife.
The performances by the three leads are excellent, particularly Gong Li, who shines in her role as the mysterious Anna. Her character has many layers, and Gong Li portrays them all with nuance and grace. John Cusack also delivers a solid performance as the determined and principled Soames, while Chow Yun-Fat brings his trademark charisma and screen presence to the role of Anthony.
The production design and cinematography are also noteworthy. Shanghai was filmed on location in China, and the movie captures the atmosphere and visual style of the 1940s era. The set pieces are elaborate and meticulously crafted, and the use of lighting and camera angles creates a noirish mood that is both thrilling and melancholic.
Overall, Shanghai is a well-crafted movie that combines intrigue, romance, and action in equal measures. It is a tribute to the classic Hollywood films of the 1940s while also offering a fresh perspective on the historical events that shaped modern China. Whether you are a fan of espionage thrillers, romantic dramas, or historical epics, this movie has something for everyone.
Shanghai is a 2010 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 36.