Reviewer: Glenn Heath Jr.
Rating (out of 5): ***
As far as remakes go, A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop, Zhang Yimou's colorful and ultimately punishing period piece riff on Blood Simple, might be one of the strangest in recent memory. Jumping from the dark, beguiling, and smoky Texas landscape of the original to a textured, barren mountain region of China, Zhang situates an oddly static locale where his patented surrealist color scheme can intertwine with American genre conventions. Isolated by a sea of soot-covered mountain sides and an endless teal sky, the titular noodle shop feels like its own doomed city-state, with owner Wang (Ni Dahong) as the fascist dictator, his abused wife (Yan Ni) and the three workers a citizenry of angry imbeciles waiting for chance to free them of suffering. But we get the sense that even if these messy peons were granted individualism, they'd let it blow away in the harsh winds.
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