Ronny Yu (The Bride of Chucky, The Phantom Lover, Warriors Of Virtue) directs this highly operatic fable based on a well-known martial arts novel with LESLIE CHEUNG (Temptress Moon, Farewell, My Concubine) and BRIGITTE LIN... more » (Dragon Inn, Deadful Melody) as doomed lovers caught in the crossfire of warring clans. With beautiful cinematography by PETER PAU (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and over-the-top action sequences, THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR is one of the best swordplay fantasy film ever made.« less
""The Bride With White Hair" is the film that turned me on to Hong Kong cinema. If you are one of those Hong Kong aficionados who has enjoyed this movie on VHS, I highly recommend the DVD version because of its subtitles. Now---while I admittedly enjoy the awkwardly translated English subtitles in Hong Kong films, this is one film that I love enough that I've always wanted to see the grammar, spelling and sentence structure cleaned up! That is the wonderful surprise I found when I saw this flick on DVD! In addition, if you want to turn friends on to this film, and they're the crowd who just doesn't enjoy a flick with subtitles, then this DVD has an English dubbed version that is fairly good (especially compared to badly English dubbed jobs of great Hong Kong films like "A Better Tomorrow"). For those unfamiliar with this film, "Bride With White Hair" is one of those rare fantasy features that actually makes my eyes a bit misty. What initially strikes me about the movie is the way the story is set up; we see Leslie Cheung (who starred in "Farewell My Concubine"), having sat hunched in desolate state of guard over a healing plant for many years, wondering if "a woman" knows that he regards her as holding great importance, even greater than that of the emperor. A great and tragic story is then told as a recollection, beginning from his childhood when he firsts encounters the mystical girl who saves him from a pack of wolves by charming them with her song. They are drawn together again as adults (Bridgette Lin is both gorgeous and fantastic as The Bride!). The complexities come as both characters are torn by devotion to their clans, barters they have made with others, and by their vow of love to each other. This is beautiful and well told story, visually astounding, and the surreal nature of the film works. I highly recommend you treat yourself to this DVD!"
A Hong Kong Classic
J. Center | Wilmington, DE United States | 08/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd never been a fan of Hong Kong cinema prior to seeing this magnificent film. Truly there's almost nothing else like it, certainly nothing Hollywood produces has this film's sense of style, wit, visual beauty and energy. A haunting score (for those who asked, I believe the music is from Kitaro's "Silk Road" -- if it's not, the Silk Road CDs will give you the same feeling as this movie's wonderful score) adds to the ethereal atmosphere. Surprisingly, the acting is excellent (avoid the dreadful dubbing and stay with the subtitled version) -- Brigitte Lin has a compelling screen presence (and is one of the most striking women I've seen in film), and Leslie Cheung (check out "Farewell My Concubine") is her match. Francis Ng as the cult leader is simply awesome. Besides its visual beauty, the plot is filled with surprises (and admittedly, some of the plot makes little sense). The action is frequent and stupifying, but it isn't traditional martial arts; this is NOT a martial arts movie by any stretch of the imagination. If you're willing to keep an open mind, and are always on the lookout for great new titles, take a look at this one."
J. Center | 11/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie completely took my breath away! I am rarely impressed by anything, but this film really moved me. Both the tragic plot and the fighting scenes had me completely engaged in the story and the characters from beginning to end. Both Leslie Cheung and Bridgitte Lin gave amazing performances. The climactic scene of ultimate betrayal at the end -- the slap, the sword, the look, the hair -- managed to do what Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment and even Titanic couldn't accomplish: make me CRY! (I was sobbing like an infant at that point...) This is a movie for everyone because it has so many elements to it: good cinemetography, a touch of folklore, romance, tragedy, action, swordfighting , etc. It's become one of my favorite movies of all time. The sequel is just as amazing, and ties up the story very well. There was no better way to end such a beautiful yet tragic love story."
You are not Worthy of the Rose of Life
Scott Bright | Grayslake, IL USA | 05/23/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Movie Summary: A peaceful young man who is an expert in the martial arts falls in love with a strange hired assassin from an evil clan. They make a vow never to doubt each other. A vow neither of their clans can let them keep.My Opinion: This is a fairly hard core Hong Kong Action/Martial Arts film. It's a lot like a live action version of an animated film like Princess Mononoke or Akira. I really enjoyed those films as well as this one. It is quite strange but that's part of its beauty. It is very easy to sympathize with the main character as he doubts the word of the strange wolf girl he fell in love with. DVD Quality: Nothing Special. Includes trailers from other films. The English language track isn't that great.What You Should Do: If you are into martial arts films and/or animated movies like Princess Mononoke then you should check this out. This is definitely one you should rent or borrow before you decide to buy. If you are looking for another Crouching Tiger, I think this one will be a little too strange for you."
Epic, Operatic, Enjoyable
A. Reid | NC, USA | 12/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you liked Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, then see The Bride With White Hair. Drawn from the same sword and sorcery tradition, both movies feature strong female leads. In the case of Bride, we have Brigitte Lin Ching Hsua, one of Hong Kong's most popular female stars. Brigitte is beautiful and compelling; more fey than Zhang Ziyi, she is a sorcerous assassin at the top of her game. Her meeting with the male lead, Leslie Cheung (a singer-actor best known in the US for his role in as Chen Dieyi in Farewell, My Concubine) is either accidental or destined, depending on how you look at it, but it changes her world and his.
The visual style of the film is spectacular, thanks in no small part to cinematographer Peter Bao. Director Ronny Yu Yan-Tai, who has been compared to Ridley Scott, is not very well known in the United States yet, but he's got a pretty good following world-wide. (Yes, yes. He directed Bride of Chucky. I'm not going to defend or attack him for that, because I've never seen it.) In Bride he conducts, like the best of the fantasy Hong Kong masters, an opera or ballet. Every word, every move is larger than life, everything fraught with meaning, promise or threat--this is not "everyman" action; this is epic. Like many epics, it sometimes does suffer from excess.
Bride is, in my opinion, not quite as good at humanizing its characters as Tiger. Both are Romeo and Juliet stories, but Lin's Lien Ni Chang and Cheung's Zhou Yi Hang are not as fully rendered as the star-crossed lovers of Tiger (either pair). They're archetypes. But they're grand and glorious archetypes. Who cares that Lien Ni Chang was raised by wolves who somehow taught her the mastery of wind instruments? Who cares how precisely the villains came by their genetic-defying bond? That isn't the point in this film, and people who allow themselves to bog down on these issues are, I believe, depriving themselves of a transporting film experience. Go willing to enjoy, and you probably will.
Those disturbed by the loose ending of Tiger, be warned: Bride isn't likely to satisfy you much more. If the "what then?" haunts you too much, you can find an answer in The Bride With White Hair II. It returns all the major characters and picks up where the other left off."