Saw House of Flying Daggers yesterday. Excellent. Beautiful cinematography, costumes, acrobatics and fighting, and all that. A multilayered plot that changes directions quickly and makes you think.

Like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (to which all big-budget martial-arts movies must be compared), at one level the story revolves around the conflict between desire and duty, but if that movie was wushu Jane Austen, this is wushu Shakespeare. In Crouching Tiger, duty won. In this movie, desire loses. The intricate way that the fates of the characters play out is like a blacksmith’s puzzle–you can tug on it a dozen different ways, but none of them seem to disentangle the pieces.