Bao lie wu sheng (2017) Poster

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Bone-crunching action and art-house silences
rick_79 October 2017
Hurray, the first good film of this year's festival! A genuinely unusual take on that old chestnut, the 'psycho looking for his missing kid' flick, but used to interrogate the iniquities of contemporary Chinese society (without anyone involved in the production gettinh killed), as a mute miner – left behind by the rapid pace of progress – engages in a bleak, apparently hopeless quest that's punctuated by moments of dark comedy and bone-crunching action (there's a lot of him just kicking people really hard).

The final shot could have used a bit of work, but the ending is otherwise superb, a fitting capper to a film with a few rough edges (cartoonish villainy, an opening that's more confusing than intriguing, a little mid-section bagginess) but interesting ideas, superb imagery – that in-camera shot of the desert giving way to the city! – and the best exhausted fight scene in aeons. Clever title too.

It's basically Kurosawa's High and Low, but for China in 2017. Having said that, and as the director acknowledged, there are no state officials involved in wrongdoing: the corruption shown is all in the private sector, even if it's high-ranking lawyers who operate within the public realm and increasingly dominate Chinese society.

... and curiously, like my previous film in the festival, Todd Haynes' risible Wonderstruck, it hinges on a mute person and a taxidermical diorama. This one's good, though.
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8/10
Well-executed thriller that gets more interesting in afterthought
xenontetroxide16 April 2018
I wouldn't quite call it the best Chinese film I've seen this year--that would be BangZi Melody, but it does follow a recent trend of improvement and innovation in Chinese cinematography I haven't seen in many years. Still, domestic reception is lukewarm, while crappy Jingoistic popcorn films like Wolf Warrior and Operation Red Sea get showered in praise, but that just means China is in lack of good audiences--which can't be helped in the short term, not good filmmakers. The censorship obviously isn't helping, but in the case of this film, doesn't seem a huge hindrance either. The start of the film felt a little puzzling, but I unfortunately missed the first 3-5 minutes of the film, and judging from the rest of the film, that could mean a lot. Good thing it didn't prevent me from following the rest of the plot, and the way background information is delivered little by little, subtly and naturally, I find to be a common characteristic of all good drama. Our mute protagonist's acting is a notch above Chinese popcorn films, somewhere around Youth(a.k.a Fang Hua)'s level, and most of the other acting is held to a decent standard. The children's acting is above average by Chinese standards and was a pleasant surprise. The only notable exception seems to be the two attorneys near the beginning and the interrogators at the end of the film, all part of the judicial system. They were like marionettes...this seems to have deeper implications? The story unfolds steadily; the dark comedy throughout most of the film aptly complements the grand concept. I was confused about the name at first(the Chinese name is no less confusing than the English version), but when you grasp the grand concept, you'll have an understanding of the name, but even then there may be multiple layers to the meaning or multiple interpretations. The film also used a few Chinese metaphors graphically, but that unfortunately means that the international audience will probably miss it. One universal symbol though is the money; if you follow the money, the nature of all the characters could be determined...I hope this doesn't count as a spoiler. Overall, there are few useless shots--they either build characters and fill in the background, which in turn contribute to the grand concept, or deliver the clues necessary in a thriller. Speaking of clues, they're quite well hidden, and sometimes cleverly misleading, that's why the film would seem well-executed the more you think about it afterhand. TheBigSick is a reviewer that left me a deep impression by giving a 9 to Operation Red Sea; this same reviewer now comes over and rants about "too many plot holes" in Wrath of Silence. IMDB should consider adding an IQ test to help add credibility to user reviews.
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8/10
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
kkurbanov12 June 2018
For the last couple of months, I have been thrilled and admire how powerful the silence (usage of less dialogues) and sounds can be in today's films. They say that - Actions Speak Louder Than Words. For example, "the Tribe" Ukrainian powerful drama about deaf teenagers, or "All is Lost" intense 105minutes by Robert Redford who tries to stay alive. Or even recent hit "a quiet place" where a family forced to communicate through sign language in order to survive. In all these films audience could feel the dialogues by beautiful performances by main characters. The Chinese "Wrath of Silence" had similar effect on me.

To be honest I was surprisingly interested in the Chinese "Wrath of Silence", for me watching foreign films sometimes can be challenging, following the film and subtitles sometimes can be annoying. but after watching the half of the Xin Yukun's "Wrath of Silence" I found myself locked in it.

The "Wrath of Silence" is very well-executed thriller that gets more interesting as it goes. As an audience we all can feel for the main protagonist who is looking for his son. This unfortunate and hopeless quest is supported by powerful moments, bone-crunching action and dark humor. "Wrath of Silence" also have great storytelling, sound effects and beautifully crafted cinematography. Each shot worth thinking and analyzing twice.

The only flaws for me was the pace of the first half. I believe it was too slow and very long, and ending could be a little better, more artistic and more meaningful rather than just having kid drawing what happened. I wish we could see him drawing before a little by little and trying to tell what happened instead he was just creepy wearing the mask.
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8/10
A truly outstanding dark work
travisliu25 May 2018
This is the best Chinese movie I've watched in 2018. Each shot and plot worth to think twice.The ending is so powerful that I can't help to spend another 30 minutes to check reviews about the movie.
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A waste of two hours
TheBigSick10 April 2018
There are just too many plot holes, and the screenplay simply lacks any sense of credibility. The first half of the film is unbearably slow and long. The production design is ridiculous. Clearly, the writer-director does not know how to make a decent thriller.
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