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I watched this in Berlin at the Festival there and unfortunately I was sitting near an older couple who were commenting on the movie. You read this right, they were old and commenting on what happened on screen in a despicable way. Their view of the film is also the view some others have (see the rating for that), still it was a bit annoying hearing them while watching.
One of the most common point that gets criticized, is that this is not worthy for a man like Yimou. I don't think it is fair to write something like that, but it's always how a viewer will watch this movie. With what expectation one goes into a movie. If you let yourself see through the comedic set pieces and the absurdity of most of them (you could call it slapstick, a movie that would be considered a master piece in another era of movie making), you can see a very human drama.
Not only that, but many human flaws that are on display here, that are hiding behind the comedy. What is not hiding though, is the phenomenal cinematography. The colors, the set pieces (designs) and the choreographed action is all in place here. There's even symbolism here, that I didn't catch (read some of the other reviews for that, the ones with a spoiler tag). A movie that you can enjoy as a silly comedy, or as a high concept drama ... or of course dismiss entirely as "silly".
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