Cinepub


Review: Inseparable by Jamie

Every now and then you hear about a film that you just have to check out. For me, ‘Inseparable’ was one of those films. All I really knew about it was that it was a Chinese film that starred Kevin Spacey and featured superheroes somehow. Yes, Kevin Spacey dressed somewhat like Batman was more than enough to get me on board. I wasn’t really sure what to expect maybe just another run of the mill superhero flick with a Chinese flavour or perhaps an outright Chinese rip-off of ‘Kick Ass’ but I certainly wasn’t expecting the film I got.

Danny Wu stars as Li, a man who has suffered some recent tragedies and as a result he’s having some trouble with his marriage and at work. How bad are things going for Li? Well, let’s just say that the film opens with his attempted suicide which is cut short by the intervention of his ex-pat American neighbour Chuck (Kevin Spacey). Whilst Li is depressed and morose, Chuck is carefree and all about living life. He keeps a secret garden on the roof of their apartment building and enjoys fine, large cigars. He’s that kind of guy. Through his new found friendship with Chuck, Li begins to finally enjoy his life again and decides it’s time to do something good with his life.

Li’s wife Pang (Gong Beibi) is a news reporter and a recent undercover investigation that she had gone on revealed that a company which manufactured a folic acid supplement for pregnant women was doing so without actually putting the folic acid in it and so Li and Chuck don their superhero costumes and go to bring righteous justice upon them.

That’s all I’m really going to say about the plot because really, this is a film that I think you should see for yourself. The film is never really breaking any new ground in terms of what’s happening plot wise but it’s the way it delivers the action in a quirky, charming way that makes it a must-see. Besides, in the end the plot isn’t really what’s important here as you realise that this isn’t just some Kick Ass rip-off but rather an examination of the character of Li and just how deeply the tragedies in his life have effected him.

Perhaps the best part of the whole thing is Kevin Spacey. He’s here doing something which I sometimes think people forget he can do very well, playing cool, calm and collected. It’s something he’s definitely brought to Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ and it’s something that’s on full glorious display here. It’s almost as though his character from ‘American Beauty’ survived and moved out to China. Hell, all of the actors do a great job which is particularly important in the terms of viewing this as a character study.

In summation Inseparable is a film that doesn’t bring anything particular original in terms of plot but brings a lot in terms of character and emotional depth. It manages to swing deftly from comedy, drama and even psychological thriller. It’s a little bit Kick Ass, a little bit ‘Fight Club’ and a little bit ‘He Was A Quiet Man‘ all wrapped up in a neat, quirky little package and I heartily recommend it to everyone, so grab yourself a copy and enjoy. Four pints out five. Laterz.

Inseparable



Documental: Why Democracy?: Please Vote For Me by Jamie

Ah, democracy. It’s a funny old thing. People vote and people get elected and on and on it goes. Good times. Yeah, I don’t have that much to say about democracy. It’s pretty good, I guess. Better than a dictatorship at least. Good for democracy.

Anyway, with that pointless rambling out of the way, let’s get onto the review and it’s something a bit different today. It’s a short documentary, less than an hour long in fact, and is part of a series, ‘Why Democracy?’, which was shown worldwide on the subject of democracy. I can’t say I know much about the series having never seen or heard of it before nor seeing any of the other films within the series so I’ll just say I’m sure it’s a very good series which raises many important points about worldwide democracy though I will point out that the opening claims that it is being watched by 300,000,000 viewers. That might seem impressive but keep in mind that’s not even a quarter of the world’s population. Still, whatever.

So this film is called ‘Please Vote For Me’ and it takes place in the Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China. It follows the first ever election for class monitor in all of China amongst a class of 8 year olds. The first candidate is Luo Lei, a boy who has been chosen by the teacher to be class monitor for the past two years and has a reputation for being quite strict when it comes to enforcing the classes rules, even going so far as to beat other children when they step out of line. The second candidate is Cheng Cheng and I can only really describe him as a real life Chinese Eric Cartman without the foul mouth. He’s very manipulative and tries to manipulate every situation to his advantage. The third and final candidate is Xu Xiaofei, a girl who is perceived as being quite shy and not particularly adept at coping with stressful situations.

The first thing you notice is just how quickly one of the candidates, Cheng, turns to dirty tactics in order to try and make the election go his way. Each of the three has to perform in a talent show and Cheng decides to tell his helpers to encourage people to boo and hiss during Xu’s performance, leading to her breaking down in a flood of tears. Whilst Xu is outside being comforted by her mother and teacher, Cheng heads outside and apologies for Luo, claiming that the entire plan was thought up by him. Devious little bastard.

Also interesting is the ways in which the parents try and help their children during the election. Luo Lei’s father is the head of the local police force and as such he organises a trip for the class on the monorail, the most up to date form of transport in the area. It also seems as though this is where Luo get’s his inspiration for his strict enforcement of the rules. Cheng’s parents help him by writing his speeches and telling him exactly how to catch put his opponents and make it seem as though they are liars. Xu’s mother is divorced and is the head of the school. She doesn’t seem to provide much of the way in tactics but helps by boosting her daughters confidence as much as she can.

I don’t want to give away the ending of the film as it’s a really interesting piece that you should probably watch it for yourself and it can probably be found fairly easily on the internet. Ah yes, here it is on YouTube. What I will say is that the film is a fascinating look at the way that the voting process works. You might think that all the mudslinging, underhanded tactics and bribing of the electorate is exaggerated because the election is being held amongst children but really, is it that different from what happens in real elections? Think about it. Yeah, deep.

All in all, I’ll say that despite it’s short length, ‘Please Vote For Me’ is a really enjoyable film and is really quite comedic in it’s look at the democratic process. I highly recommend you view it. Four pints out of five. Laterz




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