The Shadow Play (2018)

20% – Critics

The Shadow Play Storyline

The Chief of Construction Committee leaps to his death from a tall building. Yang Jiadong, a rookie cop, witnesses the incident and begins investigating it. Forced out of his job and to the safety of Hong Kong, Jiandong endeavours to discover the truth.—Aaron Simpson

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The Shadow Play Movie Reviews

Rich underlying text and breathtaking scenery

Astonishing visual and audio effects achieved by seductive editing, impressive score, awesome camerawork, outstanding performance and a story where everyone in it was tangled and thrown into the waves and flames of the rapid changing environment. The narrative is not linear nor circular, very special but clear if you can understand some cultural subtleties. For example, the accent used by people from the three different cities, the switch from Mandarin to Cantonese when addressing to the residents in the to-be-demolished building complex. An honest record of the past 30 years without any makeup or vilifying.

So much more than a story

A breakthrough of the director using his techniques in his first try of a thrilling film. The story reflects the 40 years of reform in China, and how the ‘things’ work in the last 40 years. Every actor is at his best in front of Lou Ye’s camera. The most impressing line: Everything is gonna be forgotten, just like me. said Edison Chen who is unofficially banned by the authority and in the final version almost every scene with his face is cut. How realistic this film is.

Very enjoyable Neo noir thriller.

Acclaimed Chinese director Ye Lou (Summer Palace) returns to present us a confusing, tragic and violent tale of a wealthy family in Guangzhou. When the chief of a Construction Committee, is found dead. Having apparently fallen from a roof of a building. A young rookie cop is assigned to investigate, was it an accident, suicide or murder? What follows is a nice mixture family tragedy, crime and corruption. We see the evolution of the family that became so wealthy and how the family patriarch got his reputation. This means there are plenty of flashbacks. The audience is purposely misled and kept on the edge of their seat, attempting to guess the mystery. I personally decided to analyse the plot upon leaving the theatre and must come to the conclusion that the story makes little sense. It is constructed for the main purpose of fooling the audience. It works when watching the film, but when you leave the theatre and think about the film for more than 5 minutes. But that’s not to say that there isn’t anything to enjoy in this thriller. The central performances are very good. Especially the actors that portray the family members did a superb job. The cinematography is also fantastic giving the audience a great sense of geography. This points out the juxtapositions very well. Some of the environments are run down, old and filled with crime whilst others are glamorous and sophisticated. Furthermore symbolising the power imbalance that is happening in the films world. The film also makes attempts at crafting action scenes and this is by far the films biggest flaw. The editing is fast, too fast. Exactly what I hate about action scenes. This is especially a saw thumb because the rest of the film looks fantastic. Overall I can recommend this film for a one time viewing.