Blood Simple

Blood Simple

Format: DVD

Date: 18 April 2011

Distributor: Momentum Pictures

Director: Zhang Yimou

Writers: Jianquan Shi, Jing Shang

Original title: San qiang pai an jing qi

Alternative title: A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop

Based on the film Blood Simple by: Ethan and Joel Coen

Cast: Dahong Ni, Ni Yan, Xiao Shen-Yang

China 2009

95 mins

Undeniably one of the most colourful films on offer this month, Zhang Yimou’s Blood Simple is a remake of sorts of the Coen Brothers’ 1984 debut. Moving the action to northern China in the imperial age, the film follows Ni Dahong, the owner of a noodle shop in the middle of the desert, who pays a killer to murder both his unfaithful wife and her squeamish lover. It’s a shame that the banal slapstick and oddball jokes that Zhang decided to employ instead of the black humour of the original inevitably turn his ambitious venture into a comic farce as the plot rolls on, and it is only in the film’s showdown that he manages to get back on solid ground. There are plenty of things wrong with this film, including the wildly varied and exaggerated acting on display, but Blood Simple is nonetheless a visual treat throughout, from the luridly coloured landscapes and floral costumes to the film’s deft cinematography that are clear reminders of Zhang’s earlier work.

Pamela Jahn