In The Grandmaster, Director Wong Kar-Wai does a phenomenal job visualizing the world of Ip Man. Some of the film’s most memorable moments belong exclusively to his unique eye. Kar-Wai brings his camera into the action, putting the audience right between the challengers, a visual choice that separates The Grandmaster from most kung fu films and biopics where the camera pulls back to catch all the action and/or scope.
For reasons only clear to The Weinstein Company, the film’s US distributor, all you really get from The Grandmaster is sumptuous visuals and the smallest sliver of insight. That’s a real shame because this beautiful film is ruined by abrupt transitions and expository narrations that gloss over significant details. It breaks the cardinal rule of film: Show. Don’t tell.