Thursday, April 12, 2007

Curse of the Golden Flower (review)

Although released in 2006, "Curse of the Golden Flower" is only just about to open in the UK. We often get films here several months after they open in the USA. I managed to catch it at an advance, preview screening, last night. The title sounds like the title I might use for a blog article about the Exotic Flower, or my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen. Directed by Zhang Yimou, who also directed "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers," it had a $45 million budget, making it the most expensive Chinese film ever. The expense shows on screen, as the film, a historical drama set in AD 922, has elaborate costumes and sets, plus literally armies of extras. The story of an Emperor, his Empress, and his three sons, the plot twists with intrigue, betrayal, and surprise. International action star, Chow Yun-Fat plays the Emperor, while Mainland Chinese actress, Gong Li is the Empress. Gong Li is supposed to be the most famous actress in China. It's not hard to accept, as her role in the film is the most significant. Her performance is top notch. With the exception of one sword duel, all the action comes during the final quarter of the film. Unless you speak Mandarin, you must be comfortable with subtitles. I love hearing the original Mandarin and find subtitles no problem. Although not as colorful as "House of Flying Daggers," I think it is superior to "Hero" and well worth seeing. Granted, I am partial, because Gong Li reminds me of the Black Queen, but even my friend Tom enjoyed it, I think.



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