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" Oh, if I just wasn’t a lady, what I wouldn’t tell that varmint! "
— Vivian Leigh, Gone with the Wind

MRQE Top Critic

Spellbound

The movie's great achievement is that it captures a broad cross-section of America —Marty Mapes (review...)

Eight spellers will leave you Spellbound

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There’s plenty of visual talent on display in Zhang Yimou’s A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop, but that doesn’t mean the movie’s any good.

Doesn't even work as a comedy
Doesn’t even work as a comedy

Zhang has taken on the oddball task of remaking the Coen brothers’ debut movie, Blood Simple. Zhang already has done his version of film noir with the gorgeous Ju Dou (1990). Maybe that’s why so much of this strange hybrid seems to be straining to be different.

Zhang treats his characters as pawns in an antic comedy that’s reliant on slapstick, overly broad acting, devious plot twists and cartoonish directorial ploys. Some of the terrain surrounding the noodle shop is astonishingly sparse, but this story about a woman trying to free herself from a beastly husband — the owner of a noodle shop in the middle of nowhere — lacks the sexy allure of noir, the undertow of eroticism and even the sustained fun of good comedy. Zhang is too talented to make a movie that’s totally without interest, but this one’s a miss.