Directed by Zhang Yimou (of Raise the Red Lantern and Curse of the Golden Flower fame), A Simple Noodle Story is a remake of film noir Blood Simple, the 1984 directorial debut of the Coen brothers. The film transports the original mix of dark humour and suspense plot from a town in Texas to a small-town noodle shop in ancient China.
Wang (Ni Dong), the cunning owner of the noodle shop, thinks his wife (Yan Ni) is getting too friendly with his apprentice Li Si (Xiao Shenyang). Wang decides to bribe the corrupt and emotionless police officer Zhang San (Sun Honglei) to kill the pair.
But the plot thickens when Zhang San's own schemes are revealed, while Yan Ni buys a gun from a traveling Persian salesman to kill her husband.
Meanwhile, two other apprentice employees, Zhao Liu (Cheng Ye) and Chen Qi (Mao Mao), are trying to recoup their withheld earnings, adding a comedic twist to the film. They're like a re-imagining of Dumb and Dumber, with their silly, tongue-twisting conversations.
Zhang's attention to detail is glorious - he contrasts stunning desert scenery with costumes of shocking pink and vibrant green to great effect. The unexpected ending and choreographed dough-making scene which plays during the credits are not to be missed.
YP rating: 3/5