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千里走單騎 (2005)
Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 04/16/2006

After dabbling with big budget wu xia pian for a few films, Zhang Yimou takes some time out to shoot a simple story of a Japanese father who travels to rural china to film a performance of the opera "Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles" for his dying son.

Closest to THE ROAD HOME from Zhang Yimou's previous filmography, RAFTOM again explores themes of family, estrangement and rural life. Unfortunately it rides into over-wrought sentimentality on too many occasions, and the journey Ken Takakura takes seems too contrived to deliver the messages of the film, failing to evoke any particularly genuine feelings in me as a result.

Since the film eschews the "painterly" aesthetics that Zhang Yimou made his name on, the lack of any emotional resonance or simple eye candy left me without much to enjoy in the film, though Takakura's performance is good and there are some interesting and beautiful locations that did make me think "hey, rural life is rather appealing" at times.

I'm sure it will do well with the film festival crowd, but for me it's a pretty forgettable film that certainly doesn't rank up amongst the director's best works.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: no bicycles involved...

zhang yimou's latest offering is the story of an estranged father and son. the father hearing that his son has cancer, travels to china to try and make a recording of the mask opera 'riding alone for thousands of miles', for him...

veteran japanese actor ken takakura puts in a great performance as a the father, struggling against beaurocracy and the fact he speaks no mandarin. zhang crafts a story about sons, fathers and people, that is quite beautiful.

nice stuff...