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Devils on the Doorstep(鬼子来了)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

China · 2000
2h 19m
Director Jiang Wen
Starring Jiang Wen, Jiang Hong-bo, Teruyuki Kagawa, David Wu
Genre Drama, War

During the Japanese occupation of China, two prisoners are dumped in a peasant's home in a small town. The owner is bullied into keeping the prisoners until the next New Year, at which time they will be collected. The village leaders convene to interrogate the prisoners. The townspeople then struggle to accommodate the prisoners. One is a bellicose Japanese nationalist, the other a nervous translator. Will the townspeople manage to keep the prisoners until the New Year?

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What are critics saying?


Village Voice by Dennis Lim

By the final shot, which assumes the viewpoint of a decapitated head, its appalled comedy has swelled, beyond outrage, to a pitch of punch-drunk hysteria.


Variety by Derek Elley

Has all the classic faults of a picture not only directed by an actor but by an actor who is his own producer.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Though shorn of 20 minutes for its U.S. debut, the film's wry comic portrait of the Japanese Occupation during WWII hasn't lost any of its incendiary brilliance, both as a political provocation and as a brusquely humane take on the horrors and absurdity of war.


The New York Times by Stephen Holden

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." While acknowledging that war is hell, it goes further to suggest it is ludicrous.

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