In this gangster story set in the 1930s,
14-year-old Tang Shuisheng arrives in Shanghai from the countryside to
work for the triad boss.
The boy's uncle shows him the ropes of looking
after Xiao Jinbao, the boss's mistress who sings at his club. With
wide-eyed wonder, Shuisheng observes the opulence of his employer, the
narcissism and petulance of the mistress, and the treachery of Song, the
When the gang flees to an island to avoid the
revenge of a rival, Shuisheng experiences even more shocks as he watches
the lives of innocent people dashed by the boss and his cronies.
Zhang Yimou has made another visually stunning
film and drawn out a fine performance from Gong Li as the country girl
turned gangster's moll. And to his credit, the director keeps most of
the violence off screen without losing one iota of the dramatic tension.
American movie directors of gangster sagas would do well to follow in
List Price: US
- "Adult Material;
Parental Guidance Recommended" (roughly equal to an
MPPA rating of "R") Films rated Category IIB
contain large amounts of violence and/or nudity and
sexual situations in addition to possible explicit
language and adult situations.