Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Palm Pictures presents
Purple Butterfly (2003)

"That's a nice suit. Is it off the rack?"
- Ding Hui (Zhang Ziyi)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: May 06, 2005

Stars: Zhang Ziyi, Liu Ye
Other Stars: Feng Yuanzhen, Toru Nakamura, Li Bing Bing
Director: Lou Ye

MPAA Rating: R for (strong violence, some sexuality)
Run Time: 02h:07m:56s
Release Date: February 15, 2005
UPC: 660200310523
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A A-BA- D+

DVD Review

Young actress Zhang Ziyi has taken the movie world by storm over the last few years. When she came on the international scene with her performance in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, audiences marveled at her sheer beauty. After staying off the radar for a few years, Ziyi came back with a vengeance in 2004, appearing in a trio of unforgettable films: Hero (which was finally released in the US in 2004), House of Flying Daggers, and 2046, which has yet to be released theatrically in the US, but made the festival rounds.

Purple Butterfly was actually released in China in 2003, but is finally making it's way to a domestic DVD release. Starring Ziyi, this unique film is captivating from its opening reel. Incredible imagery (the purple hue is a nice touch) and lush visuals abound, immediately drawing us into this twisting tale of espionage, treachery, and politics.

Taking place in 1930s China, Purple Butterfly centers on Cynthia, a young Chinese woman who has just seen her boyfriend, Itami, leave for the military. This distraught woman moves closer to her family, and soon loses her political activist brother, who is killed by a right-wing rebel. With the losses piling up, Cynthia changes her name to Ding Hui and joins a covert operation code-named Purple Butterfly.

This can be a tough film to get through for many people, namely due to the near lack of dialogue through about 75% of the film. There were maybe four lines of dialogue during the first half-hour of the film, so, not only will people who are adverse to subtitled films have to deal with that aspect of this flick, but they also could shy away from the near silence of much of it. Still, this silence soon gives way to some intense action pieces, which do an excellent job in telling this twisty story all by themselves.

The performances here are great, but this is definitely Zhang Ziyi's film. The way she shifts from the quiet, forlorn Cynthia, to the cool, calculating gun-toting (and not afraid to use it) Ding Hui is incredible. This film only solidifies Ziyi's climb up the actress totem pole, not only in China, but in Hollywood as well. Her work over the last two years has been simply unforgettable, culminating in her best work yet, in the aforementioned 2046. While that flick might still be hard to track down and see, for a glimpse of the caliber of acting on display there, check out Purple Butterfly immediately.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This is a gorgeous film, from beginning to end, but the transfer is not perfect. The intentional purple hue to most of the film comes across just fine, with other vibrant colors supporting the purple quite well. Images are crisp and detailed as well, but the big drawback to the presentation is the overabundance of grain during many darkly lit sequences. Normally this is excusable and infrequent, but it becomes a major distraction at times here.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Mandarinyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks are very good, providing just the right amount of depth for this half atmospheric, half action packed film. The surrounds are used quite a bit for both tracks, but more so for the 5.1. This increased surround activity along with tighter, more aggressive bass, give the 5.1 mix a slight edge over the 2.0. Dialogue is consistently clear on both tracks as well.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Last Life in the Universe, Bright Future, Reconstruction
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: For such a recent, great film, it's a shame that there aren't more extras on board, but it's always nice to see trailers, and we do get the original theatrical preview for Purple Butterfly, as well as some other potentially great films also available from Palm Pictures.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

While the martial arts-oriented Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers put Zhang Ziyi on the map, Purple Butterfly just might put her over the top as far as overall acting ability goes. This tight thriller shouldn't be missed, with a unique look that would make most American directors green (or purple) with envy.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store