Saturday, December 17, 2016


I finally watched Zhang Yimou's A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop tonight. It's very different from Blood Simple, which it's based on, but I can still see the Coens appreciating it, seeing a kinship.

It's interesting the way the characters have been remixed. The wife is much more aggressive in this version of the story, much more out there. Her lover, such as he is, is openly wussy, not the strong but silent cowboy type whom John Getz's character at least appeared to be. The police detective who takes the place of Visser is laconic badass rather than a seeming buffoon with a sneaky side. The husband figure is probably the constant between the two, brutal and self-pitying in both iterations.

The setting change is rather ingenious too. The gun itself in the title is much more of a McGuffin due to the story taking place centuries in the past. It's almost certainly the only non-government firearm for miles around.


susan said...

We were glad to know that you got to see this movie. Yes, it's a very different interpretation of Blood Simple but a pretty good one all the same, true to the essence of the story if you don't mind it being outrageously silly in comparison.

There are more characters than in the Coen Bros. film - like the two unpaid employees trying to break into the office safe to collect their back wages. I quite liked the scene and costumes as well but that was another major difference from 1980s Texas countryside. You're right that the strongest character was the husband, unlikeable as he was.

Of course, the problem with redoing a Coen brothers movie is that it is inevitably going to compared to the original. We liked this one as an example of a Chinese Opera style version of a noir thriller, but I must say that Blood Simple itself retains its place as a classic.

Ben said...

Oh, it's definitely silly. For one thing you never fear for the wife, the way you might have in the original. She's just too much of an asskicker here, and kind of mean to boot. But they have a good time with that.

The unpaid employees were kind of amusing. The guy was the bigger goof, but he was the only one who seemed willing to do what it would take to get their money. Well, maybe it was because this was basically a Medieval story, or kind of feudal at least. If the Coens used them it would more likely be in Raising Arizona.

It's a tough comparison, yes. Blood Simple is just an amazing landmark, especially for a first film. I reacquainted myself with it last summer.