A nameless 'noir' detective, still mourning the loss of his wife, investigates a mysterious death in a Buddhist temple, but his logical, left-brained crime-solving skills are useless in the intuitive, non-linear world of Zen.

Director:

Writer:

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two very different brothers get together for a temporary stay in a Japanese zen monastry. The trip from Germany to Japan brings up some unexpected quests they have to manage. Soon both ... See full summary »

Director: Doris Dörrie
Stars: Uwe Ochsenknecht, Gustav-Peter Wöhler, Petra Zieser
Zen (2009)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

'Zen' Buddhist teacher Dogen Zenji is a very important religious person during the Kamakura period, 750 years ago. After his mother died, he decides to move to China and settle as a ... See full summary »

Director: Banmei Takahashi
Stars: Kankurô Nakamura, Yuki Uchida, Ryushin Tei
Amongst White Clouds (Video 2005)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A journey exploring the practices of Chinese hermits living in the Zhongnan Mountains.

Director: Edward A. Burger
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals.

Director: Gregory Colbert
Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Jeanne Moreau, Enrique Rocha
Siddhartha (1972)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The story of a young Indian who embarks upon a journey to find the meaning of existence. Based on the novel by Hermann Hesse.

Director: Conrad Rooks
Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Simi Garewal, Romesh Sharma
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Three people live in a remote Buddhist monastery near Mount Chonan: Hyegok, the old master; Yong Nan, a young man who has left his extended family in the city to seek enlightenment - Hyegok... See full summary »

Director: Yong-Kyun Bae
Stars: Yi Pan-Yong, Sin Won-Sop, Hae-Jin Huang
Milarepa (2006)
Action | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Milarepa is a tale of greed and vengeance - demons, magic, murder and redemption. It is the story of the man who became Tibet's greatest mystic.

Director: Neten Chokling
Stars: Orgyen Tobgyal, Kelsang Chukie Tethtong, Jamyang Lodro
A Buddha (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Un Buda follows two brothers orphaned as children when their parents were taken by the military during the "Dirty Wars" of the 1970s in Argentina. Tomas (Agustin Markert) is now a drifting ... See full summary »

Director: Diego Rafecas
Stars: Agustín Markert, Carolina Fal, Diego Rafecas
Bandaged (2009)
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Since his wife's death, Arthur, a peculiar and severe surgeon, cloisters his teen daughter Lucille inside a strange mansion. Desperate, Lucille tries to commit suicide and ends up with her ... See full summary »

Director: Maria Beatty
Stars: Janna Lisa Dombrowsky, Martine Erhel, Hans Piesbergen
Samsara (2001)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A spiritual love-story set in the majestic landscape of Ladakh, Himalayas. Samsara is a quest; one man's struggle to find spiritual Enlightenment by renouncing the world. And one woman's ... See full summary »

Director: Pan Nalin
Stars: Shawn Ku, Christy Chung, Neelesha Barthel
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Ayurveda is science of life and art of healing; where body, mind and spirit are given equal importance. This voyage of thousands of miles across India and abroad takes you on a unique ... See full summary »

Director: Pan Nalin
Drama | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The two men embark on parallel, if separate, journeys. Their yearning is a common one--for a better and different life. Dondup, delayed by the timeless pace of his village, is forced to ... See full summary »

Director: Khyentse Norbu
Stars: Tshewang Dendup, Sonam Lhamo, Lhakpa Dorji
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
The Detective
...
The Master
...
Jane
...
Ed
...
Nora (as Jennifer Siebel)
Howard Fong ...
The Dead Monk
Edit

Storyline

A nameless 'noir' detective, still mourning the loss of his wife, investigates a mysterious death in a Buddhist temple, but his logical, left-brained crime-solving skills are useless in the intuitive, non-linear world of Zen.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

death | detective | zen | buddhist | sword | See All (56) »

Taglines:

Sometimes the mystery is bigger than you think

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 April 2004 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

References Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Adequate
5 August 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Zen Noir" is overall an enjoyable film with a decent storyline, but it has many amateurish elements that weaken the production significantly.

The story involves a nameless detective investigating a possible murder at a Buddhist temple, only to find his perspective on life challenged and transformed as he learns more about the situation. It's a simple concept that presents a pretty broad illustration of some Buddhist tenets, but the detective's character arc is engaging and strong enough to carry the story. I did not find the film's treatment of Buddhism too esoteric, as it concentrates mostly on the detective's perspective and growth.

The writing is mostly clever but has uneven parts. Despite the film's overall dedication to witty and unexpected dialogue, it includes moments like a sophomoric "laypeople are people who can get laid" joke. The comedic aspects in general feel very forced and weak, consisting of silly and predictable gags or very awkward slapstick. The director clearly didn't know how to make slapstick acting visually funny but insisted on trying a few times anyway, disrupting the film's otherwise thoughtful flow.

The detective and the monks are adequate actors, but the woman playing Jane proved very dull and tedious. It felt as if she was cast primarily to pad out the film by speaking very, very slowly as if she was bored with the script. The biggest problem with Jane is that we're supposed to care about her character, but she doesn't have any particular appeal or even interesting qualities.

The film is only 70 minutes, though, so if the concept of a hard-boiled detective investigating at a Buddhist temple sounds entertaining or amusing, you can probably get some enjoyment from Zen Noir. Honestly, if this film had been cut down to a mere 45 minutes, it would probably have contained all its necessary and most engaging elements.


0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD Release??? defaude
Theme song i_am_cloud_chaser
Music from the Trailer rwins4-1
Content? thejslewis
Discuss Zen Noir (2004) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?