More incestuous than a Borgia family reunion, more colourful than an explosion in a paint factory and bloodier than Caligula.
Zhang Yimou takes everything to excess including more cleavage than any other Chinese film you're ever likely to see, the words lurid, garish and gaudy could have been invented for this film, it makes most Bollywood productions look sublime in comparison.
A plot that (despite hengcs's comment) feels like it's been ripped from Greek, Roman or Shakespearian tragedies, acted with greatest of exuberance by Gong Li et al.
If I'd gone into this expecting any sort of reality based drama I'd be shredding it to pieces, as it is, it was exactly as I expected, though unlike some, I prefered the subterfuge of the first half to the all out crescendo of battle and slaughter that fills the majority of the second half.
Definitely one for the big screen, just take your popcorn and leave your brain at home.