Lavish historical drama directed by Yimou Zhang. During the latter days of the Tang Dynasty in 10th-century China, the Emperor (Chow Yun-Fat) returns home from war unexpectedly along with his son Prince Jai (Jay Chou). But while the Empress (Gong Li) is happy to see her son, her reception of her husband is less cordial - their marriage has been an unhappy one for many years and in the Emperor's absence she has taken her step-son, Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye) as a lover. In frustration, the Emperor orders the Imperial doctor (Ni Dahong) to secretly drug the Empress and render her insane. But the situation is further complicated by the doctor's daughter, with whom the Crown Prince secretly wishes to elope. As the family's entangled motives lead inevitably towards violence and retribution, their youngest member, Prince Yu (Qin Junjie), struggles to bring peace to the royal household.