Cast: Gwei Lun Mei, Hu Ge
Official Selection, 2019 Cannes Film Festival
Guns are supposed to be rare in China, but you’d never know it from the various pistol-toting hooligans out for revenge in Diao Yinan’s brutal new crime film. Grand displays of violence are all too common in this serpentine story of a wounded gangland boss who becomes the subject of an epic manhunt after petty grievances between warring criminals escalate into an all-out turf war.
There will be blood, but there will also be torrential rainfall, moody neon lighting, and ghastly betrayals that underline China’s current descent into capitalist self-destruction. Slithery motorbike-riding thugs own the night, but cops in neon kicks are never too far off. Yet, the real power lies with the cunning bathing beauties who know where all the literal and figurative bodies are buried near the titular body of muddy water.
They all make up the shady population of this shoot first, cry-for-mercy-later neo-noir that considers the physical and emotional sacrifices it takes to get big financial returns on a terrible situation that’s quickly spiraling out of control. If Diao’s topsy-turvy genre world teaches us anything, it’s that the only true reward is death.
–Glenn Heath Jr.
Co-Presented by China Focus @ UC San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy