A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop [Blu-Ray] Zhang Yimou

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop [Blu-Ray] Zhang Yimou
Critic Jim Emerson notes that A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (a remake of the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple by the great Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou) bears as much tonal relation to its source material as Jerry Lewis's The Big Mouth does to No Country for Old Men. A striking observation, since with Curse of the Golden Flower (2006) and now this, Zhang's directorial style has moved further than ever away from the intimacy of Raise the Red Lantern and Ju-Dou, towards the over-the-top, Day-Glo, widescreen slapstick spectacle of a '60s Lewis film. When the operators of the titular rural noodle shop first appear, they're decked out in flowing robes of orange, pink, red, lime green and baby blue, decorated by buttons and flower patterns of purple, yellow and who knows what other colours. They first appear negotiating with a Persian businessman, with a beard that has been gelled in such a way as to plunge downwards before swooping back up on either end in a nearly 90-degree angle, and their clientele consists almost exclusively of soldiers in perfectly patterned steel armour. Oh, and did I mention that their ludicrously large and ornate, humble noodle shop exists in the middle of a rocky desert, burnt by the sun into the ripest, most luminescent shade of orange you ever did see? This pop art aesthetic sounds like an awkward fit for the familiar story about a jealous man's failed attempt to put a hit on his wife and her lover, but as with the Coens, Zhang sees a lot of gallows humour in a situation where, say, a man tries to bury another man who isn't quite dead yet. Does this movie "work"? As with most Chinese comedies, Noodle Shop's extremely broad shenanigans don't exactly translate well ― there is an overweight cook with enormous buck-teeth ― and I can't shake the feeling that the gritty, spare style of the Coens suits this material more than Zhang's hysterical approach, but sometimes a movie doesn't need to "work" for it to be worth seeing. A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Stop is garishly beautiful, tonally strange and highly watchable. Blu-Ray extras include over 100 minutes of documentary footage covering just about every aspect of the production, along with a trailer. (Sony)