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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Curse of the Golden Flower

Posted on Thu, Jan 11, 2007 at 4:00 AM

****
Curse of the Golden Flower
Length: Single
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Rated: R
Release Date: 2007-01-11
Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li, Liu Ye, Chen Jin, Jay Chou
Director: Yimou Zhang
Screenwriter: Yimou Zhang, Wu Nan, Bian Zhihong, Cao Yu
Music Score: Shigeru Umebayashi
WorkNameSort: Curse of the Golden Flower
Our Rating: 4.00
What starts as a visually intoxicating, but rather slow-moving, Oedipal court drama unfolds in its final act as a series of increasingly violent scenes culminating in a wrenchingly bloody finale. As she has done before in director Zhang Yimou's films (Raise the Red Lantern, Shanghai Triad), Gong Li functions as the icy vortex around which both the familial tension and the mass slaughter revolves; her character is that old cinema standby: the conniving, stepson-fucking empress with a heart of gold. As she's being slowly poisoned by her husband (played regally rotten by Chow Yun-Fat) and the screwed-up tangle of intimacy in the royal household gets weirder and weirder, her behavior becomes more hateful while her character becomes more sympathetic. Zhang does a marvelous job at contrasting the tactile sumptuousness of the sets ' Curse is the most expensive film ever made in China ' with the venomous, venal brutality that occurs within their walls.

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