OUT OF CRIMES
Director: Peter ZUO
Producers: CHOW Keung, LI Xin
Writer: Peter ZUO
Cast: WANG Haitao, REN Quing’an, DING Jianjun, LONG Shuilin, LI Jue
Out of Crimes is a 2018 Chinese crime film directed by Peter ZUO and starring Jianjun Ding, Bo Dong and Haitao Wang among others. It’s a flawed, but mostly effective feature.
Miner Junpo’s daughter is seriously ill and needs urgent treatment. Unable to raise money anywhere for his child’s treatment, Junpo kidnaps his boss’s daughter. At the same time, several other unrelated people are involved, either by coincidence or on purpose, in the whole affair. The situation quickly spins out of control.
This is one of those interconnected movies similar to “Amores perros”. It follows many characters, but all are interconnected in the overall story arc, and the point is to showcase how quickly violence and crime can spread from one situation to another, from a couple of people to larger groups of people.
The film’s flaw is that sometimes crimes happen for the sake of happening, and it all escalates too quickly, and it’s never-ending. However, that might also be the point because it shows us how quickly these types of situations can spin out of control owing to a lack of care or maybe an unfortunate string of circumstances.
The highlights in terms of subplots and characters are the part with the small child and rabbits as the only innocent part of the film. And also the film’s road trip feel and quality is very interesting, especially because it keeps the whole film very fresh and moving quickly.
Yes, the pacing in Out of Crimes is quite good, though again the piling of crimes and characters can be overbearing at times. The direction from Muye Wen is fine, though not great. But the acting is terrific across the board with the standout being Jianjun Ding.
The standout technical aspect is the cinematography. The score and the overall production design are solid, but the film is particularly well shot with the long tracking shots being superb, and the emphasis on natural landscapes and roads in the middle of nowhere led to an interesting-looking, very intriguingly set feature film which was shown at Warsaw International Film Festival as well as Beijing Youth Film Festival.
In the end, Out of Crimes has its issues, but it is a very important, tragic look into violence and crime and how quickly those can spread and spin out of control. The film is also interestingly shot on fine locations, and its various subplots and characters are mostly very well connected.