Springtime In A Small Town review

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Beautiful but totally inert, this remake of a 1948 movie is an odd way for The Last Eunuch director Tian Zhuangzhuang to end his 10-year hiatus from filmmaking. But having been blacklisted by the authorities over his Mao-baiting The Blue Kite, one can hardly blame him for playing safe.

Set in a country town in 1946, Springtime might best be described as a Chinese take on The Postman Always Rings Twice. A doctor pays a visit to an old friend from college, only to find him suffering from a mystery ailment. Not only that, but he's also married to the doc's childhood sweetheart, now a bored young wife looking to escape her humdrum existence...

It's a promising set-up, but Zhuangzhuang is more concerned with probing the intimate minutiae of human relationships than building up a narrative head of steam. Like the drinking games that occupy its second act, Springtime goes on far too long, far too slowly, for far too little gain.

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