Yimou Zhang's rather subdued crime drama. I really liked this film when I first watched it, I think I've seen this done better since. It's certainly not a bad one, with proper intrigue and sporting a very nice setting, but somehow it lacks Zhang's visual flourish, which left me a little disappointed.
Shuisheng is a young boy who is brought to Shanghai by his uncle. He works for Tang, an important gang boss. Shuisheng is given to Tang's mistress, who he needs to tend to. From the shadows, Shuisheng observes the lives of the wealthy, but he'll soon find out that this lifestyle comes with its own perils.
Gong Li is strong, as is the rest of the cast. I liked the inclusion of more prominent genre elements, and the mix of drama and crime works very well. I just remembered a more visually elaborate film. Maybe it was the restoration work that took away from the colors, but I was a little underwhelmed. A very good film, just not a personal favorite anymore.