The American movie market is begining to look to China for regular infusions of gorgeous, low plot, period, action epics. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the first for many people, but there have been others both before and after that made a significant impact. Chou Yun Fat is a staple now, and even Gong Li is becoming well-known. Both appear in Curse of the Golden Flower which perfectly fits into the genre.
Based on a sort of morality tale plot, "Curse" is meant to be cinematically lovely, and in this it delivers. Costuming is rich and vibrant, an impressive number of corsetted bosoms heave, and the scenes are artfully strewn with meaningful images (fluttering banners, sprays of water or blood, seas of flowers). I did NOT care for some of the shocking and unlikely colors used on the interior of the palace, but that's just me. The plot was the thing that bothered me the most. It reminded me strongly of a Shakespearean story, and I think it would have been perfect to stay that way. However, the twist at the end left me cold (I won't ruin it for you by telling though). I think I would have enjoyed myself more if they hadn't bothered to subtitle. Then I could have enjoyed the visuals without the interuption of the plot.