Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

Silly film benefts from low expectations. A combination of Orientalist and soap-opera cliches, it mangages to be easy on the eye. Giving Ziyi Zhang the part of Plucky Victimised Heroine is almost criminally neglectful of her best instincts as an actress - compare the pale character she plays here compared to her masochistic hooker in 2046. And this is the best Hollywood can manage by way of high drama these days? It's easy for Gong Li to triumph as Bitchy Villainness, going Joan Crawford and torching the whole mess. Kôji Yakusho retains his dignity in his turn as the scarred-faced Nobu. There's so many howlers in this I almost can't count them - the Jedi Geisha training montage, the cavalcade of clanger lines, building to a dance sequence that must be seen to be believed - Flashdance Goes Kabuki!

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