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The first few minutes will probably hit the raw nerve of anyone who got
enraged by the irresponsible behaviour of fast car drivers here. We see
two cars driven by rich kids who think of nothing except flooring the
accelerators of their sports cars, even under inclement weather
conditions, coupled with fooling around with the opposite sex, before
tragedy hits when they get into an accident by hitting a passer-by. And
as if not bad enough, one of them proceeds to finish the job. After
all, it is said that punishment for a hit-and-run perpetrator is
lighter if the victim succumbs to the injuries, rather than to survive
Just when you think that Mystery would circle around the story of each
of those who were involved, the narrative shifts in broad strokes.
Based on story found in internet forums, Lou Ye's film actually deals
with hell having known no fury than that of a woman scorned. Or make
that women. It aims squarely at issues of extra marital affairs, and
the trouble that one's indiscretion would bring about across all
families involved in one's uncontained lust. It also skirted around
highlights involving the single child policy, and how a male heir
played some importance especially to the older generation. Which I
thought was rather interesting if you'd put yourself in the shoes of
the male protagonist under a society as such, although his wild
behavioural swings isn't something that can be condoned.
At first glance, it seemed that Qiao Yongzhao (Qin Hao) is leading the
successful life, with a good career, nice apartment, wife Lu Jie (Hao
Lei) and child. But who would have thought that these were
insufficient, and slowly we learn more about what's actually behind his
success due to family connections, and his frustrations that manifest
through a series of affairs. Lu Jie befriends the mother of her
daughter's classmate, and it's not before long that Sang Qi (Qi Xi)
confides in her about her husband's affair. Connect the dots, and very
soon the film becomes a tale of jealous vengeance, ever ready to see
how far it could stretch.
But while everything will be settled in a closed loop especially with
yet another police investigative subplot thrown in for good measure (I
suppose with Chinese films, you cannot have the law ignore crimes that
have been committed, and how these investigations must almost always
turn out positively to an extent, which makes the narrative fairly
predictable), what was interesting was the character of Yongzhao, being
very two-faced in the way he conducts himself between the two families,
in a way, knowing very well not to bite the hands that feed him. The
narrative moves up a notch when there's a direct confrontation, since
it becomes a lot more explosive rather than to dwell and contemplate on
the next move on the chess board.
While the film tries to adopt this very detached, documentary like
examination into the lives of the characters, it was especially jarring
with the hand-held, shaky camera treatment, and on many occasions I was
silently begging the cinematographer to mount the camera on a tripod,
or stabilizer. It detracts one from getting into the story, and was
mildly irritating each time the camera moved for no apparent reason
other than just because it was hand held. If there could be one aspect
that would make this film more bearable, it would be this.
Otherwise perhaps Lou Ye wanted us to feel the same discomfort as the
characters in this bleak and grim story, where everything was in a
shade of grey, in the morals of the story as well as the way the film
got lit and coloured, with plenty of rain to dampen any chirpy mood. If
miserableness was what should be conveyed through the film to an
audience, then this would be a great success.
Tags for [??]Mystery (2012) Full Movie
, Lei Hao
, Xi Qi
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