Guizi lai le (Devils on the Doorstep)
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Guizi lai le (Devils on the Doorstep)
Jiang Wen directed and stars as the hapless protagonist in this incendiary, sociopolitical satire set in a Chinese hamlet during World War II's waning days. One wintry night, peasant Ma Dasan (Wen) becomes -- at gunpoint -- the custodian of two Japanese prisoners, one a rabid, jingoistic soldier and the other his self-preserving translator. When the gunman doesn't return, Dasan faces a weighty dilemma: Either slay his captives or free them.

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"In its dry and forceful way, it delivers the same message as Jiri Menzel's Closely Watched Trains and Danis Tanovic's No Man's Land."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"There's a gem of an idea lurking inside this movie, but the film is burdened with an overwrought and static first hour and wild tonal fluctuation."
‑ , Hollywood Reporter
"The farcical elements seemed too pat and familiar to hold my interest, yet its diverting grim message is a good one."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A wild ride that effortlessly combines devilish dark humor, slapstick comedy, extreme violence and bitter satire."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"The tonal shifts are jolting, and though Wen's messages are profound and thoughtfully delivered, more thorough transitions would have made the film more cohesive."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"Rich in shadowy metaphor and as sharp as a samurai sword, Jiang Wen's Devils on the Doorstep is a wartime farce in the alternately comic and gut-wrenching style of Joseph Heller or Kurt Vonnegut."
‑ Joe McGovern, Premiere Magazine
"Shot in rich, shadowy black-and-white, Devils chronicles, with increasingly amused irony, the relationship between reluctant captors and befuddled captives."
‑ Dennis Lim, Village Voice
"Undeniably impressive."
‑ Par Parekh, Film Journal International
"This boisterous comedy serves up a cruel reminder of the fate of hundreds of thousands of Chinese, one which can only qualify as a terrible tragedy."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Guizi lai le (Devils on the Doorstep) on Rotten Tomatoes