⨧ (1990)

Reviewed by: Anticlimacus
Date: 10/01/2006
Summary: A Cinematic Disaster

Zhang Yimou directs this film about a forbidden love that is kept secret for fear of public retaliation. The cloth-making subplot allows for some very bright, beautiful colors; and the lead actor and actress are pretty good. The first hour of this film was enjoyable and engaging as a realistic drama.

Unfortunately, the final half hour takes a decisive turn to the ridiculous. It’s beyond comprehension why the filmmakers felt the need to insert a poorly-acted, psycho child into this storyline, and no reason is given for his completely outrageous behavior. The first 10 minutes of “Halloween” and the entire “Children of the Corn” series come to mind.

It is at this point where Ju Dou completely loses its touch with reality, as if Wes Craven took over the final few days of shooting. Only in the world of B-grade horror can a child laugh hysterically after dragging a cripple to drown in a vat of clothing dye, or beat his father over the head with a two-by-four for no apparent reason whatsoever. It is not an understatement to say that this movie has one of the most absurd, out-of-place endings in the history of cinema.

In fact, every single scene with the child made this film unwatchable to the point of inducing anger. I’ve heard that Zhang Yimou is one of the greatest Chinese directors to have ever lived, but this utter debacle of filmmaking does not bode well for his apologists.

Reviewer Score: 4