Release Date: July 1st, 2005 (NYC-Cinema Village), by Zeitgeist Films. The Cast: Zhao Tao,Chen Taishen.
Directed by Jia Zhangke.
In Mandarin with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: An fictional examination of modern life through the World Park, a Epcot Center-like park, located in Beijing, with many miniature replicas of world landmarks.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This is a very visually-stunning film from start to finish. The scenes with the dance performers are full of vibrant colors and dazzling cinematography. At times, the cinematography is very inventive with the use of animation. The pacing is often slow, which makes the film drag even during scenes with beautiful images. The plot is very thin and quite often simply monotonous in tone and redundant. Unfortunately, there isn't even one likable or even memorable character. There is a love triangle, but it never really becomes suspenseful or even remotely interesting. The acting is mediocre, which doesn't help to enliven the slow-moving plot. But what really hurts the entertainment value is the long running time of 140 minutes, which is quite difficult to sit through with a boring plot.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: There are somewhat insightful themes about globalization, urbanization, and the alienation that results. However, a lot of these messages are subtly implied despite that they are important and quite provocative. Even though there is a romantic affair, the film never becomes heart-breaking or touching. . Perhaps if the writer/director were more bold and upfront with his messages, this film would have more of an impact. What the movie "Ghost World" if you want to see alienation/urbanization tackled in a more poignant, thought-provoking way.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A dragging plot with very little character development.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 6
THE BOTTOM LINE: Although visually-stunning, its slow pace and minimal plot often leads to boredom which is even worsened by the long running time.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "W" Menu