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Critic's Pick

'Shanghai Triad'

April 19, 1998|Kevin Thomas

Zhang Yimou's great 1995 gangster film evokes the most exciting, glamorous, dangerous, cruel and corrupt city on Earth during the 1930s. We view Shanghai's famous Bund, a shoreline row of vintage Western-style skyscrapers, through the eyes of a bright 14-year-old boy (Wang Xiaoxiao). He's to become a servant to the gorgeous mistress (Gong Li, pictured) of the city's leading underworld kingpin (Li Baotian). Zhang's film is a cautionary tale on the dangers of materialism (Showtime early Tuesday at 2:30 a.m.).

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