If you told me I would watch a Chinese kung fu movie and come out raving about how good it was, I would have said that you were raving. I really hated Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Hero is simply in another class. Everything is presented with such simplicity even when it turns out to have underlying levels of complexity. The use of color, music, wind, shimmering silk, water and even ink makes this a work of art. Even the kung fu scenes had an elegance and grace that kept me riveted. It made sense and that probably is the greatest compliment I can give it. By the end we were all riveted, wondering what choice Nameless would make.
If you see the movie be sure to remember this note from Jeffrey Overstreet when watching. I forgot but find that it adds resonance to bring the message beyond just applying to China and to applying to our lives as a whole.
Note: Near the end of the film, a character delivers an important message in two words—"Our land." In the Chinese version, there are actually three words—"All under heaven." Zhang Yimou changed it out of concern that it would not translate properly. Frankly, I prefer "All under heaven."