By Zhang Yimou

  • Genre: Action & Adventure
  • Release Date: 2019-05-03
  • Advisory Rating: Unrated
  • Runtime: 1h 55min
  • Director: Zhang Yimou
  • Production Company: Blu Cinematografica
  • Production Country: Italy
  • iTunes Price: USD 12.99
  • iTunes Rent Price: USD 4.99
From 39 Ratings


With SHADOW, director Zhang Yimou (HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) once again pushes the boundaries of wuxia action to create a film like no other, masterfully painting a canvas of inky blacks and greys punctuated with bursts of color from the blood of the defeated. In a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, the military commander has a secret weapon: a "shadow", a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself. Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want.




  • Think of it more as a political thriller than martial arts epic...

    By Xavier Sharp
    It's been awhile since I saw a Chinese film I liked as much as this one. I'm a big fan of Zhang Yimou, but his last Chinese-financed film, The Assassin, left me a bit disappointed. To me, this is on the same level as Hero, and maybe even a tad better, if it's not too blasphemous too say. Like Hero, the colors mean a lot, and the set design is unbelievably well done. Also like Hero, which imitates Kurosawa's Roshomon in some ways, Shadow imitates a Kurosawa film -- in this case, Kagemusha. The difference between the two is in subtlety. I don't think that Kurosawa would have considered himself an artistic director until later in his career; while his frames are generally well-composed, his camera is, at least in his samurai films, always focused on movement. Yimou doesn't do that. His framing is just as good as Kurosawa, but I think he shares more in common with Ang Lee in that the movement in his screen is less... big... In both Zhang Yimou's and Ang Lee's filmmaking, a glance from one person to another means just as much as someone swinging a sword at someone else. Unlike Ang Lee, however, Zhang Yimou tells an awesome story (sorry to Ang Lee fans; I've just never been impressed with his storytelling). Shadow is, similar to, say, Crouching Tiger, much more about the interpersonal relationships and politics than it is about the action. Each of the main characters (and many of the side ones) are flushed out more fully than most characters in most movies. They all feel real, which is an amazing feat in and of itself. But to then formulate a plot that uses their motivations without ever explicitly stating it? It's like a puzzle that never fully comes together until the end. I'm not the biggest fan of the open ending here; I think it's the weakest point of the film since it doesn't allow Xiao's character arc to finish. But other than that, I honestly can't find a flaw with this movie. I loved every second of it and will buy it if it ever drops to $10 or less.
  • Bit silly

    By foolery puppetry
    Silly and boring
  • Wow

    By joshuamax3
    This movie was terrible. Terrible.
  • Slower than a turtle with lombego

    By Phabrizio63
    To dub this a martial arts film is ridiculous. An artsy wardrobe epic and irrelevant ancient Chinese customs drama. One of those can’t give it zero reviews.
  • Yawn, you’ve seen this movie

    I gotta say the trailer and poster had me. This looked like a wonderful spectacle, alas it’s the same movie you’d expect. Boring even. The fights are unoriginal and half-assed. Wait for Prime or Netflix.
  • Lost in Translation?

    By echols108
    I was really excited to see this movie and happily paid the $4.99 rental price on iTunes. I hate to say this but this movie was a real disappointment. The black and white cinematography was cool. The costuming was cool. The only original aspect to this film were the "spinning umbrella swords" you see in the trailer. Actually, everything that is cool about this movie you can see in the trailer. The story was very "cliche" and uninspiring. I was so annoyed and unimpressed with the story that I just fast-forwarded the movie to the end midway through the film. Maybe if you're an 8-14 year old who's new to these worn out story cliches you might be impressed.
  • They say that imitation is a form of flattery

    By Cosmic Ray
    In an attempt to capture an atmosphere of strife, struggle and treachery, the director watched a few early Kurosawa movies . The failing came when the movie dragged out, seemingly for hours only to arrive at a predicable conclusion. The entire plot could have been compressed down to 30 minutes and saved the viewer having to watch what looks like a recreation of silent filem era exagerrated expressions, or in the case of some of the characters, blank faraway looks and stares or zero expression. I happen to really like period movies, so it's difficult for me to feel compelled to rate it as poor, but it barely earned the rating I am giving it.
  • An Interesting Martial Arts Film

    By IceSoldier16
    This movie went beyond my expectations and not only that. This movie was so much fun to watch.
  • Garbage

    By Adtrk
    Don’t listen to all the other fake reviews. First fight is like 1:30 into the movie(movie is only 2 hrs) rest is all talking.
  • Beautiful cinematography

    By storytellerstudios
    The sets and costuming are spectacular. The story is a bit slow and yet quite interesting and cohesive. The major battle scene is very well done; however, this is not an "action movie" and most of it deals with politics and interpersonal relationships. The basic premise is somewhat similar to Kagamusha, where a commoner is used as a double, a "shadow" to protect the king. The positions of the leaders are at times difficult to understand, but their characters are distinct enough to make sense of what is going on-which in a word is lots of scheming! The film is shot in black and white and uses amazing sets to bring out gorgeous scenes, amidst the rain, mist and shadows. The actors are excellent and the musical score is nicely done.