Movie Details

Wheat

In the Kingdom of Zhao, all the men have left for war and Lady Li (Fan Bingbing), wife of the absent lord, says victory will soon bring their men back home. When two enemy deserters invade the kingdom, they pretend to be Zhao soldiers and improvise a tale for Lady Li describing Zhao`s victory. Word of the supposed victory spreads rapidly throughout the town, causing misplaced optimism among the women until the truth is revealed and despair and horror emerge. Set during the Warring States period, the film is divided into five sections, which corresponds to the Chinese system of elements: metal (aka gold), wood, water, fire and earth.

Language: Mandarin
Subtitle: NA
Classification: PG
Release Date: 24 Jun 2010
Genre: Action / Drama
Running Time: 1 Hour 48 Minutes
Distributor: CATHAY-KERIS FILMS
Cast: Fan Bingbing, Wang Xueqi, Jue Huang, Jiayi Du, Wang Zhiwen
Director: Ping He
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Goh Wen Xuan

Writer Ratings:
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Watch this if you liked: “Warriors Of Heaven And Earth”, “Little Big Soldier”

There has been many war movies made regarding the Warring States Period, the Three Kingdoms Era, but nothing does come close to "Wheat". For starters, there isn't much fight scenes or warring scenes to be exact. Sounds like a snooze fest? Not really.

"Wheat" happens during the Warring States Period, where unification of China under the Qin Dynasty occurred. Village men from Zhao state were forced to go to war, leaving the women behind. In order to keep themselves busy, they planted vast fields of wheat for winter, and yet often consult the local witch whether their husbands would return after war. Two warriors from the Qin state were found washed up nearby the river, thus brought back to the village, thinking that they were Zhao warriors. In order to survive, the two warriors, Xia and Zhe had to concoct a story where Zhao warriors were on the course of winning the battle with Qin. In the end, the lies were discovered by just one single jade locket, owned by Xia.

Director He Ping's ("Warriors Of Heaven And Earth") compelling storytelling about the untold story of women who were left behind during wartime is a far cry from Feng Xiaogang's dark humour, as well as Zhang Yimou's extravagant cinematography. But yet, it is what makes "Wheat" entertaining. The plot could be simple, but it all boils down to what each cast member delivers. And yes, they delivered perfectly, including the rowdy village women whom the reviewer thinks might have been too deprived of men!

Fan Bingbing ("Shinjuku Incident", "Bodyguard And Assassins") does relatively well as the Lady Li who rules the city when her husband is away. Subdued acting at the start might have caught the reviewer off guard, but during the end, her portrayal of a delusional wife who learns that the whole Zhao army had perished in war was surprisingly convincing. Praises also should be given to both Wang Jue and Du Jiayi as the two extreme characters of the runaway Qin warriors. It was a shame that Wang Xueqi ("Bodyguards And Assassins") only made a cameo appearance as Lady Li's husband.

The cinematography was absolutely breathtaking, with rolling hills and vast lands of wheat fields taking up most of the running time. Do look out for the ending, where it could be a heart wrenching conclusion for the widowed women in the movie.

Cinema Online, 21 June 2010
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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