The low rating of the film is probably due to the fact that this was marketed as a horror film, and even has a "horror version" edited available on the DVD. What a mistake! - certain to disappoint horror film fans.
This is of course really a drama about the terrible loss of possibility that sometimes chance brings about by intervening with our commonplace experience with loved ones. These experiences we claim to cherish, but in reality we take them for granted, forgetting that we are all mortals and that all love risks coming to an end in the most horrifying - yet inevitable - way - with the death of those we love.
Filmed as something of a nightmare (without ever getting flashy), crisply directed, with some wonderful performances - probably the most mature performance I've seen from Qi Shu.
Excellent drama - but not a horror film. If you want your heart wrenched, this does a good job of it, If you want to be scared, looked elsewhere.
NOTE, 2009: It took me a year (and 11 months after the death of my own mother) to get up the gumption to see this film again, it is that strong. Now it has entered my top-20 list of best films of all time. These images will haunt you for all time. And if you've ever wondered why you should pay respect to the woman who gave you birth, see this film. It's like saying you don't like mom, and having Gloria Steinem slam a fist in your jaw for saying so - and that's not bad. A feminist "Phantom of the Opera;" one of the strongest scripts to be written in China over the past 30 years, perhaps the strongest drama to come out of China in its decade. Powerful. Not a thriller, sorry, just a strong script and strong performances all around.
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