@thesubstream ♥'s Midnight Madness #8 - THE BUTCHER, THE CHEF & THE SWORDSMAN

"This is a deal changer. This changes what you'll think of mainland China's cinema."
- Colin Geddes

Review: The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman

Loony Tunes!

Really good films - especially in the context of a festival programme like Midnight Madness where you never know exactly what you're in for when you sit down - are more often than not surprising films. They defy your expectations, they present characters that are original, they combine and remix stylistic elements in new ways. Director Wuershan's The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman is surprising from start to finish, astonishing, a deliriously entertaining defiance of expectation.

Tracing the history of a mystical kitchen cleaver through three tales of revenge in the hands of Chopper, a good-hearted but horrifyingly-whiskered butcher, the Mute, a chef who must learn the secrets of killing and serving a fish before it knows it's dead and the Swordsman, a dark master whose betrayal births the magic cleaver, the film is a non-stop dust-kicking riot. It veers apropos of not much from wuxia-revenge film into rap-video territory, into video game showdowns and Loony-Tunes slapstick. It's dark, hilarious and extremely well-made. It's up there with the best films of Midnight Madness and really, with the best films of this year's festival, period. That may be because I really like characters with gross dreadlocks covered in mud and sand, though.

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