Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2006)



Critic Consensus: Doesn't reach the heights of Zhang Yimou's best, but this is still a heartwarming tale of love and forgiveness from the acclaimed Chinese director.

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Movie Info

On the heels of such extravagant historical swordplay epics as Hero and House of Flying Daggers, Mainland Chinese director Zhang Yimou returns to the reins to tell this intimate tale of an aging father who attempts to remedy a longstanding rift with his grown son. Summoned to Tokyo by his daughter-in-law, Rie (Shinobu Terajima), village fisherman Gou-ichi Takata (Ken Takakura), arrives at a city hospital to find his son, Ken-ichi (Kiichi Nakai), bedridden by liver cancer. Though Gou-ichi attempts to use the visit as a catalyst to heal a decade-long dispute between the pair, stubborn Ken-ichi rejects his father's attempt at reconciliation outright. Subsequently handed a videotape by Rie before departing back to the countryside, Gou-ichi returns home unsuccessful in his efforts to build a bridge of peace between himself and his ailing son. Upon watching the videotape, a research project exploring the Chinese folk arts that was shot by Ken-ichi in the Southern province of Yunnan, Gou-ichi is oddly affected by the onscreen failure of his son in convincing well-known opera singer Li Jiamin (playing himself) to perform the titular song, a classic operatic piece espousing the values of friendship. Now determined to travel to Yunnan and videotape the performance that his son could not, Gou-ichi embarks on a life-changing quest that will not only give him a greater understanding of the relationship between himself and his own son, but set into motion a healing process that will also have a profound impact on the troubled opera singer and the man's long-lost illegitimate son as well.more
Rating: PG (for mild thematic elements)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: zou Jenghi, Yimou Zhang, Jingzhi Zou, Zou Jinzhi
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 6, 2007
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


Ken Takakura
as Gou-ichi Takata
Shinobu Terajima
as Rie Takata
Kiichi Nakai
as Ken-ichi Takata
Li Jiamin
as Himself
Qiu Lin
as Lingo
Jiang Wen
as Jasmine
Yang Zhenbo
as Yang Yang
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

Critic Reviews for Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

All Critics (78) | Top Critics (27)

The themes are universal (if a touch corny), the rugged Chinese scenery is stupendous, and the performances are touching.

Full Review… | October 30, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

What remains most vividly after Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles, however, is not its story but its world--the immersion in that world of a foreigner, not a polo-shirted Yank but a stiff-necked Japanese. And it is all overseen by a Chinese director.

October 26, 2006
The New Republic
Top Critic

It sounds like a slight plot, and it is, but it is rich in detail that makes up for the simplicity of the story.

Full Review… | October 19, 2006
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

It's a masterful little film, and, thanks to Zhang's seasoned hands, it's subtly heartfelt but never manipulative.

Full Review… | October 19, 2006
Washington Post
Top Critic

A father takes a spiritual journey from Japan to China to help mend a decades-long rift between himself and his dying son. The lessons learned en route are as profound as they are simple.

Full Review… | October 13, 2006
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Relatively speaking, minor Yimou, yet it retains that extraordinary cinematic sensibility and superbly observed humanity that characterizes all his work.

Full Review… | October 12, 2006
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles



Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

Just to start off, let's call this the little Asian film that thinks it can. Certainly it does, and it almost succeeds (and does succeed on some levels), and it's awful pretty looking along the way, but it lacks a certain something. In this it reminds me of another recent Asian film: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring - both had a lot of potential and some good acting, and some potent (if almost overbearing, at times) imagery, but lacked the execution to get the film where it needed to be, it just sort of flounders somewhere in the middle. Granted, to be fair, I liked Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles a lot better - it had far more redeeming factors; for example, the wonderful performance of Ken Takakura really anchors the film and gives you a reason to keep on. As well, the film picks up significantly once the plot of Yang Yang and his father comes into play. If more time had spent on that it would have strengthened the main plot of Takata and his dying son. Anyway, this is a good film, it's definitely worth watching, but it definitely wasn't all that it could have been due to some sloppy storytelling.

Christopher Mercer

Super Reviewer


I'm still trying to figure out, WHY. Why what you ask, why I continue to watch this bloody movie, I mean theres no blood in the movie, just an expression, Guy wandering around trying to do good for his dying son, but tends to piss people off

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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