The owner of a noodle shop in the Gobi Desert (Ni Hadong) plans to murder his philandering wife (Yan Ni) and her lover (Xiao Shenyang), while at the same time, his wife buys a large pistol. And when the husband bribes a police officer (Sun Honglei) to kill the adulterous couple, the officer may have a plan of his own. Also with Chen Ye. Directed by Zhang Yimou. In Chinese with English subtitles. [1:40]
SEX/NUDITY 2 - A belly dancer appears briefly with a weapons merchant during a sales pitch, wearing an outfit that exposes her abdomen and bare arms; she points to a product, slinks her hips once and walks out of the scene (the merchant makes 3 comments about big guns, and flashes a big smile, so these may be sexual references). Three men wear loose, flowing jackets that occasionally bare their chests and abdomens.
► A husband forces his wife to recline with her hands tied behind her back and her face through a hole in a screen painting, where he cut out the face of a young boy; he sits behind her, announcing that he paid a lot of money for her, but her womb is worthless and cannot lay eggs and he places his face on her hip briefly.
► A police officer reports that he has found evidence of adultery in a noodle shop carriage and the owner slams a desk with his hand and replies, "How dare they do it in my carriage!" A police officer arrives at a noodle shop and states that he arrests adulterous people; he calls another officer forward and asks if anyone in the noodle shop looks like an adulterer.
► A woman flirts with a police officer by flashing a large smile and batting her eyes; he ignores her and points to four people in portable stocks.
VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - Sitting across a desk, a man takes a pistol from his sash and shoots another man in the abdomen (blood drips from the man's body and onto the floor in a close up, and we later see congealed blood on his abdomen).
► An arrow shoots through a window and into a man's back, protruding from his stomach, and with some blood; a woman screams, as three more arrows strike a wall and a wooden pillar (she dodges them and hides).
► A man punches through a door's window and reaches for the lock; a woman hiding behind the door pins his hand to the door with a pair of scissors, shoots him in the midsection through the door, and he falls off a balcony, crashing to the floor on his back.
► A man with a sword is hiding in the room with a safe, grabs a length of chain and strangles another man from behind (he drops the body to the floor), steals everything in the safe and pulls the man up the stairs (he finds a bloody tooth on a step and puts it into the corpse's mouth).
► A presumably dead man mumbles, sits up, and draws a pistol on another man who's burying him; the other man takes away the gun, which misfires loudly and the first man screams and falls dead. A man finds another man shot dead in a basement and there's blood on the floor; he screams several times.
► A husband runs to a carriage, shouting at his wife and a man inside about their adultery, drags her out on to the ground, and punches and slaps her several times; the other man intervenes and is also punched, and the woman retrieves a pistol and points it at her husband, who sneers and walks away.
► A man ties the hands of his wife behind her back and she lies on her side behind a panting; he takes his smoking pipe and presses the lit end onto her abdomen as she whimpers and screams, and then shouts, "This will be the last time that you abuse me!"
► A man carries a body to the desert, where he finds an open shallow grave by falling in it, and he places the body in the hole and begins to shovel dirt. A man buries a body in a grave and he digs in a desert at night. A man reports that he found evidence of a woman's adultery and gives her husband two bloody scarves as evidence that he killed the couple. After being burned by a hot pipe, we see a woman with a man who uses a large pin to open blisters on her abdomen and cover them with ointment.
► A man has a waking vision in which another man crashes through a doorway with a large curved sword, screaming and swinging it at his head. A woman dreams that she sees her dead husband sitting at her desk with grave dirt sliding off his head; the man turns and shouts at her that she cannot divorce him.
► A merchant demonstrates how to use a sword and pistols in a noodle shop, swinging the sword over the heads of the workers; he fires one pistol out the door with a loud bang, he fires a large canon with a louder bang through the open door, and he picks up another pistol and tells a woman buyer that it is very powerful and that when fired someone must die. Loud gunshots are heard off-screen during the opening credits.
► A woman beats a wooden icon of her husband with a long smoking pipe until the picture breaks, and later says, "If I can't kill him, I'll kill myself." A man says that moose are going to die, and that because a gun is so powerful, when fired at a moose the bullet always goes through and kills a man as well. A husband bribes a police officer to kill his adulterous wife and her male friend. Four noodle shop workers intermittently argue with one another about business and their salaries throughout the film. A man asks a woman the real reason for her buying a gun and she replies, "For fun."
► A merchant makes three bullets. A retinue of patrolling police offices on horseback in the Gobi Desert carries swords, long iron arrows, and an eerie wind-blown siren. Noodle shop employees twirl handle-less rolling pins as if they are martial arts batons, but do not hit anyone while making noodles. A man carries scissors with him as a weapon, but never uses them.
► A man squats down behind a rock wall, suggesting defecation; we hear flies buzzing, suggesting a pile of excrement, but we see nothing. A woman finds a piece of a coworker's shoe in a basement beside a safe; she screams, shakes, cries, hurriedly packs her things, and runs away into the desert.
PROFANITY 4 - 5 sexual references, 2 scatological references, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (junk, slut, mean, Persian, piece of work, wimp), stereotypical references to (women, noodle shop employees, bosses, bungling and corrupt police officers, Persian merchants, Chinese price haggling), 2 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - A man shows a large wine jar to a police officer but no one drinks, and a woman drinks two large bowls of wine that dribble down her chin (we later see the woman asleep and snoring beside an empty wine bowl). A police officer lights a long pipe with a flint stone and takes two puffs that produce several clouds of white smoke, and a man lights a long pipe and takes several puffs that produce large clouds of white smoke.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - China, marriage, purchasing brides, abuse, fidelity, revenge, bribery, murder, consequences, justice.
MESSAGE - Plotting murder can get you killed.