This movie is amazing! The amount if people, time and effort put into it. Stunning! Some of the costumes took 40 people to work on just one and it took then 2 months! The details and color! I love Chow Yun Fat. He's a wonderful actor as the Emporor. Gong Li is the Empress who is so beautiful and does a great job acting as a poisoned wife and mother. This movie is a must see! Yes, the theme of the story is one told over and over. Actually there are several good lessons to be learned by younger people who watch this. Biggest lesson is: "Secrets hidden from those you love will always come out one day. Be prepared."
The actors and director are trying to show us a long ago dynasty that was full of pomp and dignity that all shown on the outside, represented by all the gold and fine clothing. Inside the palace, it was different. There were secrets, lies and betrayals from everyone on the family. We get to watch as the Emporor "cleans up" his house both physically and psycologically. You can predict the ending, but to watch this evil unfold among some of the most beautiful scenery is breathtaking.
It's rare to see a movie that is completely entertaining and truly a work of art, but "Curse of the Golden Flower" manages this feat easily with its intricate Shakespearean plot of family betrayal and political intrigue. Beyond the beautiful costume details, carefully choreographed fight scenes, and intricate dialogue, this is easily the most colorful movie I have ever seen - even on "regular" DVD, this movie shines with more color and splendor than most of the blu-rays in our modest collection.
Viewers will appreciate this movie for the depth of detail (even after repeated viewings, it seems we catch another new nuance in the plot every time we watch), and for the dramatic horror on display - such scenes as the queen's determined consumption of poison as her husband lords his power over her, or of the soldiers' brave stand, drive home the rot, corruption, determination, and fatalism themes that weave this story together.
GREAT! The Zhiang Yimou direction (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) and his story script are riveting as this film builds pace from a necessarily slow start - it is dramatic instead of melodramatic, with its endng shots truly disturbing and painful; it has an emotional depth beneath its stunning surface. Gong Li, so often his partner and also hi ex-lover, surely has to be one of the greatest actresses of the past decade -- can you think of a less than compelling performance from her? Red Lantern, 2046, Memoirs of a Geisha, Concubine, Shanghai Triad, even Miami Vice? Or a less than subtle and powerful one from Chow Yun Fat (Crouching Tiger, Anna and the King of Siam)? The sheer beauty of every scene can lead the viever perhaps to discount the power of the acting and the story. It is a study of power and evil. While Gong Li owns the screen, Chow Yun Fat owns the plot. Amid all the costumes and decor, they come alive so vibrantly. There is not a false note in any scene.
What a rich wealth of films China is producing! And along with Gong Li comes Zi Yi Zhang (Hero, Daggers, Crouching Tiger, Geisha,2946) and Maggie Chung. And Zhang Zimou is the master director who brings out their beauty and brilliance.
My advice to anyone coming afresh to all these films is let them work their magic on you and enter into their ambience. The only way they are boring is if you demand the quick hits of the typical US film. Take the Chinese masterpieces on their own terms. Allow yourself to enjoy them.
Cinematography was amazing as well was the story line and pacing. I watch the subtitle version its a little fast at times but I have watched it over and over. Many of the "Ninja" type acts have some basis in reality by their manner of presentation. No one floats in the air or leaps to great heights without a somewhat plausible mechanical assistance. You will look at the Chinese culture with a different eye after viewing this movie.