• Released
  • November 26, 2004
  • R
  • Drama
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Purple Butterfly Synopsis
A man (Liu Ye) gets roped into trapping resistance fighters (Zhang Ziyi, Feng Yuanzheng) .
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Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings


San Francisco Chronicle

A gorgeously shot, ambitious epic.
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Los Angeles Times

By Kevin Thomas
As atmospheric and moody as a film noir, the stylish, sometimes perplexing Purple Butterfly is a remarkable period piece, evoking the...
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The A.V. Club

By Noel Murray
A sumptuously moody memory play.
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L.A. Weekly

By Ella Taylor
Hectic, lyrical, swooningly romantic and almost unwatchably brutal, Purple Butterfly deploys a modern Asian gangster-movie aesthetic to...
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The New York Times

By Dana Stevens
Mr. Lou synthesizes a wide range of styles and influences - from "Casablanca" to Wong Kar-wai - resulting in a movie that, for all its...
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New York Post

By V.A. Musetto
Director Lou Ye, who gave us the lilting "Suzhou River," doesn't care much for dialogue. He lets Wang Yu's pulsating camerawork do the...
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Seattle Post-Intelligencer

By Sean Axmaker
Rich with emotional turmoil and searing beauty, but it could have used a little more time in the editing room to make sense of it all.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Too often, Purple Butterfly is as impenetrable as Zhang's placid, obdurate beauty.
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TV Guide

By Maitland McDonagh
The effect is hypnotically disorienting, but the less familiar you are with this period in 20th-century Chinese history, the easier it is...
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Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
Ye bites off substantially more than he can chew.
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Rated R | For strong violence and scene of sexuality