How's this for an oddity: Zhang Yimou, director of such rhapsodic period pieces as Hero (2002) and House of Flying Daggers (2004), remakes Blood Simple (1984), the grungy little neo-noir that launched the careers of Joel and Ethan Coen. The original movie's violent love triangle has been transposed from a honky-tonk in a small Texas town to a noodle restaurant in Gansu province, and the result is an uneasy mix of Coen-style laughs (particularly evident in the big comic close-ups) and Zhang's majestic imagery (in one shot the couple's divorce papers shatter into a burst of confetti). The movie's chief attraction is Zhao Xiaoding's widescreen cinematography of the Gobi desert, digitally transformed into a wonderland of white-and-orange-striped rock formations. In Mandarin with subtitles.
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