"Shi Mian Mai Fu," also known as "House of Flying Daggers" for you American folk, is the next Yimou Zhang movie, and once again, it doesn't cease to amaze. His style is just so darn amazing it feels more like reading a poem than watching a movie. Zhang is so elegant and uses such an incredibly beautiful style it's hard to keep a smile off your face during the movie.
Ziyi Zhang, unrelated to Yimou, once again graces the screen with her presence as main character Mei and the center of a love triangle turned deadly. "House of Flying Daggers" takes place near the end of the Tang dynasty in China. The House of Flying Daggers is a secret organization hidden in the backwoods that has risen up to take a stand against the government. Mei is a dancer for the politicians and is thought to have ties with the Flying Daggers. Police officer Leo, played by Andy Lau from the old "Drunken Master" movies, arrests Mei for interrogation. She is then broken free and taken into the woods by Jin, played by Takeshi Kaneshiro. It may sound like a straightforward plot, but things turn out to be more complicated then they seem.
If you've seen "Hero" or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and enjoyed them, definitely check this one out. The scenery and colors used during the entire movie are absolutely incredible. There are many scenes that are downright awe-inspiring. At the beginning, when Mei performs her "echo dance" for Jin, Zhang lets it all hang out. With drummers surrounding her on all sides, Mei performs the dance so gracefully that it is nothing short of jaw dropping.
Plan on exchanging looks of disbelief with your movie-going buddies. After the "echo dance" scene, the movie takes place solely outdoors, and if you've seen any of Zhang's other work you know it's guaranteed to be inspiring. There's a chase scene that takes place in a bamboo forest where armies are chasing Mei through the treetops. The scene tops the cake. Go see this one when you get the chance, or better yet make time for it. Expect a film so poetic it'll jerk those tears right out of your sockets.
3.5 out of 4 ramalams