A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop
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It looks like a perfect plan: the affair will come to a cruel but satisfying end when a Chinese noodle shop owner plots to execute his unfaithful wife and her lover. But the lover has a lethal plan of his own in this violent tale of adultery and revenge based on the Coen Brother’s debut classic Blood Simple.
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That isn't a problem with "A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop": it is unequivocally an intelligent comedy covering all the ground, from intelligent and witty to slapstick.
The main characters are "jumbled": the wife is conniving and confident; her "boyfriend" is a neurotic mess of insecurities. The husband is ugly and monstrous. Sun Honglei is typically excellent. And two supporting characters are more skittish than bumbling "Nancy Drew"-like amateur "detectives" simply trying to figure out what's going on, he taking the lead except when there's potential danger, at which times he graciously allows her to go first.
It even includes some of Zhang Yimou's signature slow-motion techniques.
Delightful (watch the supporting character in pigtails and blue) from beginning to end, and preferable to "Blood Simple" for those who found the tension of the latter induced not so much by on-screen events but by the tediously slow pacing.
Others give (too many) details about the story. The blu-ray is excellent in print, transfer, sound, and abundant extras. (The funniest off-screen is the girl who is, in the film, the supporting character in pigtails and blue.)
This will be watched more often than "Blood Simple"!
And watch for the police siren.
The art direction and cinematography are up to Zhang Yimou's standard, i.e. a visual feast. He seems to have a real feeling for the Chinese desert regions, which are also used to beautiful effect in 'Hero'.
I actually prefer this version to the original. Highly recommended.
Recommended for the "noodle dish" acrobatics as well. Made me want to chow down on those darned noodles!
Wonderful cinemaphotography - whats new - Zhang Yimou is an absolute master of cinemaphotography.
Go for it!
It takes a good five minutes or so to get into the overall feel of the movie, figuring out what it is and roughly what to expect. Once that happens, it is a highly entertaining film that, while it misses a little here and there, is very entertaining and fun to watch. From a cinemaphotography standpoint the film is a visual feast, the characters are interesting, and while some of the plot twists and turns seem at first obvious they ultimately change on you. The movie does not have too much to do with food, with the noodleshop serving just a backdrop to the set, but it does include an amazing noodlemaking scene near the beginning of the film before too much blood has been shed.
The movie's plot centers around a mean spirited (but rich) noodleshop owner, his deservedly unhappy (but also manipulative) wife, some disgruntled employees, and some corrupt police. When the wife buys a gun for a seemingly obvious purpose, it leads everyone down a path they were not anticipating. All three shots from the triple barreled gun are eventually fired, just not in the way the viewer is originally expecting.
The most dissatisfying part of the movie was the end, which finishes a little abruptly and leaves you feeling like there could have been another 5 minutes to the film. Not so much to answer questions, but just to put a capstone on everything and leave it feeling not so clipped. It's possible that Yimou was just following the ending of the Coen Bros. film, but I can't say for sure since I never saw that movie.
Well worth watching, the film is subtitled in English (no dubs) and other languages, and the special features are mostly a "making of" that is extensive but not especially entertaining. Although it is rated R, I think most people would feel this should be PG-13, or at the very least OK for 15 and up (the murders are not overly graphic/no sex). Unless you don't like subtitled movies or black comedies this is an easy and fun pickup.