A body double fights to reclaim his home city.
It’s easy to forget how color affects the experience of a movie—until you see one like Shadow, said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. This martial-arts extravaganza from the director of Hero and House of Flying Daggers “ravishes the retina” with a muted palette inspired by Chinese ink-wash painting. “Yes, there’s a story, an intricate one that’s predictable and surprising in equal parts.” But the action is “nothing short of sensational,” and the visuals reaffirm Zhang Yimou as a master aesthete. Like many wuxia fantasy epics set in feudal China, “Shadow dives deep into palace intrigue,” said Katie Rife in AVClub.com. Jing, the title character, serves as the battlefield body double of a military commander who’s hiding an illness, and both men are in love with the commander’s wife. The cowardly king, meanwhile, would rather marry off his sister to end a conflict than challenge the enemy occupying Jing’s home city. The staggering battle scenes include such fantastical spectacles as warriors wielding umbrellas made of blades, said Carlos Aguilar in TheWrap.com. Thankfully, the female characters are never sidelined. In Zhang’s China, “damsels in distress are obsolete.”
Erik Kessels, Elissa Federoff/NEON, Well Go USA Entertainment ■