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Time Out says
Opium addiction, incestuous desire, thwarted dreams, blackmail, secrets and lies: Chen's lavish, tortuous film has all this and more. Set mainly in the '20s, it concerns the wealthy but dysfunctional Pang family and the unrequited passions afflicting gigolo Cheung, clan head Gong Li and her poor but devoted cousin Lin. After a confusing start, it's an enthralling melodrama, sumptuously and imaginatively shot by Chris Doyle, which deals tangentially with the clash between the new and the old China, and shows, for probably the first time in Chen's work, a very real interest in sexual passion.