Fifth about The Seventh

Cliff Walkers (Xuányá Zhī Shàng)

Cliff Walkers: Zhang Yimou’s spy thriller is coldly efficient, as it follows a group of infiltrated agents in Japanese-controlled territory during WWII trying to accomplish a mysterious mission, facing the opposition of the collaborationist secret service. The story is filled with double-crossings, and it generally is very tense. The film turns out to be a patriotic procedural with limited space for character development, however good it is at what it tries to accomplish. The cast (Qin Hailu, Liu Haocun, Zhang Yi, Zhu Yawen, Yu Hewei, to name a few) does a good job as the agents and security forces. The action takes place, for the most part, in a wintery, snowed-down city, and production designer Lin Mu, alongside costume designer Chen Minzheng, gives the space a lot of character. Cinematographer Zhao Xiaoding moves the camera beautifully, and editor Li Yongyi gives the film a fine pace, keeping the tension up through its whole runtime.

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