Suzhou River (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

Suzhou River (2000)

Suzhou River



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Recalling both Vertigo (1958) and Chungking Express (1994), Chinese director Lou Ye spins this riveting tale of obsession and love. The film opens with shots of the Suzhou River, which is clogged with the detritus and pollution of a rapidly expanding Shanghai. The film focuses on motorcycle courier Mardar (Jia Hongsheng), who specializes in black marketeering and is asked by a shady alcohol smuggler to shuttle his young attractive daughter Moudan (Zhou Xun) to her Auntie's every day while he entertains hookers. Though at first the youth resists his precocious passenger's advances, the two soon fall for one another. In spite of this, Mardar reluctantly agrees with a group of sleazy associates to a scheme to kidnap Moudan and extract a ransom from her father. When Moudan learns of Mardar's betrayal, she runs away and throws herself in the river, apparently to her death. A few years later, Mardar is released after a stint in prison and returns to Shanghai. There, while working as a videographer, he encounters Meimei (also played by Zhou) a nightclub dancer who performs in an aquarium as a mermaid. At first, Meimei brushes off Mardar's advances, until he tells her of his sordid past. Soon the identities of the two women fuse in his increasingly fractured psyche. This film won the top prize at the Rotterdam Film Festival.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Romance, Art House & International
Directed By: , , , , , , , , ,
Written By: Ye Lou, Lou Ye
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 23, 2001
Strand Releasing


Xun Zhou
as Moudan, Meimei
as Jia Hongsheng
An Nai
as Mada
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Critic Reviews for Suzhou River

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (9)

The showy jump cuts and off-kilter close-ups belie an extremely well edited, even supple, piece of work.

Full Review… | August 17, 2001
Village Voice
Top Critic

This is well worth checking out.

Full Review… | March 9, 2001
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Lou Ye lays out a ravishing wasteland of femmes fatales and lovelorn tough guys -- all in 79 minutes.

Full Review… | February 7, 2001
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

This atmospheric film, even with its self-conscious style, is a show of major talent by Lou.

Full Review… | February 7, 2001
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A compelling story of love and obsession...

Full Review… | February 7, 2001
Top Critic

An assured exercise in high cinematic style, it references a variety of films and filmmakers -- Alfred Hitchcock not the least of them -- but what it is preeminently is alive and dynamic.

Full Review… | February 7, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Suzhou River

One of the most important and the best films made in China in 00s, for sure. Freer and more intimate camera to the actors (characters), editing that ignores so-called the "form" and is more like a work don by a DJ playing a record on turntables - its existence symbolizes the 6th Generation Chinese directors.

Lou Ye's audacious retelling of "Vertigo," thrust into the decaying heart of a modernizing China, has "stream-of-consciousness" written all over it: the literal title (and Shanghai landmark) pervades each disconnected soul and twisted memory as individuals mull over illusions of lost love. Lou's borrowing of Wong Kar-wai's improvisatory jump-cutting and Brechtian narration work well to an extent here, but it's the film's distinctive aura that makes it work: "Suzhou River", like its namesake and characters, seems to exist purely in a dream state amidst the stark neorealism of an all-too-real urban setting.

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