My Take – This Chinese film works a tribute to the detective suspense noir films with a setting bearing a strong resemblance to many South Korean films of the similar genre. I have a huge fascination for South Asian cinema & suspense films being my 2nd favorite genre, I had to check this out!
The atmosphere in the film is nearly perfect, despite being based around a series of murders, the film has a pace more similar to an art-house film than a crime- thriller. A couple of scenes were impressively disturbing, made even more so by the slow paced, subtle atmosphere surrounding them. However when the final revelation comes, it is a little bit of a letdown. Even the romantic relationship between the two characters is not believable at all. The whole film is based on that relationship, but it just couldn’t convince me nor did the whole motive. Without this, the rest of the film seems not to make sense at all. The acting performances were all impressive, even though I didn’t know anyone of them, (not that I know many Chinese actors), its the female lead played by Lun Mei Gwei which seemed to stand out! Even Fan Lio’s male lead, was impressive in bits & pieces.
Don’t look for a slick plot or a clever twist here, it seemed the director wanted to provide a satisfying style and mood as a salute to the genre film noir. Black Coal, Thin Ice is a relentlessly grim and slightly disturbing film, it’s a rare and unique film in Chinese cinema, filled with decent performances, some interesting cinematography, & an almost interesting enough storyline. But, it never really goes beyond this, feeling very much a film for a artsy lovers than providing a thrill.
Director – Yi’nan Diao
Rated – R
Run Time – 106 minutes