Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dangkou (Plastic City)

Very strange debut movie by Nelson Yu Lik wai, who is better known as the cinematographer of Jia Zhang ke (who’s one of the multiple producers) that’s visually interesting but the story and storytelling style is not.

This is a Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian production with a story set in Brazil about a crime family in the counterfeit goods business. Tells about Chinese counterfeit “king” Yuda (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) and his adopted Japanese “heir” Kirin (Jô Odagiri) who embark on a power war and eventually are ousted by an ambitious Chinese younger “king wannabe”.

What makes this movie strange is that looks and feels like a Japanese or Chinese film/story but the Sao Paulo setting really crashes with the story the film is telling. I tend to believe that if the same story is told in Hong Kong, Tokyo or any other major Japan or China city, the story, the film, and the storytelling style would have made a completely different film that would have been a lot more interesting.

Main actor’s performances are really good but their acting style looks and feels totally out of place; still that’s one of the reasons that allowed me to watch the entire film, besides the eye-catching visuals and excellent cinematography. But neither saves the film as a whole and when is over leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth that travels fast to your head.

It’s hard for me to imagine how a film with such excellent credentials went so wrong. But this is not the first (and probably won’t be the last) movie with excellent Asian credentials where storytelling goes wrong because of the setting, just remember Kar Wai Wong's Blueberry Nights.

The film was in competition for the Golden Lion at the 2008 Venice Film Festival and I also do not understand how it end-up there, as is a film with style but very little substance.

I cannot recommend this movie.

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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