Nick Schager Reviews A Woman, A Gun and a Noodle Shop

When did Zhang Yimou start acting like Jean-Pierre Jeunet? A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop is staged in a particular over-the-top Chinese comedy tradition, but aesthetically speaking, its opening passages are distinctly Amélie-ish, from fleet, sharp procedural montages (as when imagery of twirling flour gives way to shots of it being turned into noodles, dropped into bowls, and slurped up by hungry eaters) to its wild, funny-looking carnival caricatures. Given that Yimou’s latest is a remake of the Coen brothers’ chilling 1984 noir debut Blood Simple, the initial, overeager mood of slapstick goofiness is enough to make one cringe, regardless of the fact that noir’s bleak fatalism always flirted with, if not embraced, a strain of pungent black humor.

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