All movies require some suspension of disbelief, but some need a lot more than others. I had an easier time swallowing “Beowulf” than director Ang Lee’s latest, “Lust, Caution.” “Beowulf” trades in fantasy so you make the leap; “Lust, Caution” seeks to explore real human emotions and rings hopelessly false.

This is rather a shock, coming from the director of “The Ice Storm” and “Brokeback Mountain,” two films that tackled “difficult” topics (swinging and gay romance), and succeeded by zeroing in on the emotional core of the stories. “Lust, Caution” is based on a concise and very personal short story by Eileen Chang (“Naked Earth”), but Ang Lee turns it into a cold, slow and implausible tale on the big screen.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.