"Too Slow and Uninspiring"
What You Need To Know:
Like the Coen brothers are wont to do, director Zhang Yimou loads this remake with tons of irony. The shooting style, editing and narrative are very slow, so this time out, the movie fails to rivet one’s attention. Also, the script’s ironic outcomes leave viewers with a numbing humanist worldview lacking redemptive power. The movie also has strong violence and brief foul language.
(HH, L, VV, S, N, AA, D, MM) Strong, ironic humanist worldview set in feudal China with lying, cheating characters; two obscenities; strong violence includes murder and people shot by gun and pierced by arrows, plus a body is buried to hide a murder; no depicted sex scenes but man is having adulterous affair with boss’s wife and adulterous couple have illicit rendezvous in a carriage; four shots of upper male nudity of fat side character who wears a vest that doesn’t fit him; alcohol use and character gets drunk; man smokes pipe; and, stealing, miserliness, cheating, lying, deceit, breaking and entering, betrayal, etc., by all the main characters, who come to relative no good, however.
A WOMAN, A GUN AND A NOODLE SHOP is a Chinese adaptation of Joel and Ethan Coen’s famous first movie, BLOOD SIMPLE. Though done by the master director of such recent Chinese favorites as HERO and THE HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, this one lacks the cinematic power and dramatic excitement of those works.
The story opens in the desert noodle shop run by the miserly Wang, whose young wife is cheating on Wang with Wang’s young employee, Li. Li keeps the gun that the wife bought from a Persian merchant for “killing her husband later.”
Wang, who knows about the affair, decides to bribe a local policeman, Zhang, to kill the illicit couple. Zhang, however, has other plans involving all the money Wang keeps in his safe. Meanwhile, two of Wang’s other employees plot to get the wages that Wang has deliberately delayed paying them.
Like the Coen brothers are wont to do in their film noirs, director Zhang Yimou loads his remake with tons of irony. The camera work, editing and narrative are very slow, however, so this time out, the movie fails to rivet one’s attention. Also, the script’s ironic outcomes leave viewers with a humanist worldview lacking redemptive power, even if the story were constructed as a tragedy like Akira Kurosawa’s RAN or Zhang’s own CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, which this film clearly is not.