Saturday, June 9, 2012
The Arrival of Wang (2011) Open Roads 2012
I'm kind of screwed in talking about The Arrival of Wang. The problem is that in order to really talk about the film I have to reveal too much. Its not really possible to explain why I feel the way I do with out giving too much away. Then again the picture I'm using, which appears to be the poster, gives away a key plot point.
The story of the film has Gaia, a Chinese translator, being called in on the fly to translate for a government agency in desperate need of her services. They have someone who only speaks Chinese and they need to talk with him NOW. She takes the job and is whisked off blindfolded to a secret location where she begins, at first to translate for a man sitting in darkness.
I like this film. While the set up and the conclusion are a little too pat, the middle section, say the middle 70 minutes of this 80 minute film, crackles and pops as we are drawn along with our heroine into a rabbit hole. Its a killer situation where you can't be sure who is telling the truth and what our heroine should do.
As I said the problem with the film comes at either end of the story. The beginning is a bit too obtuse. Gaia, and we in the audience are left largely in the dark, literally at the start, and it makes understanding the brusqueness of one of the characters hard to understand. At the other end of the film as set up the film can only go one of a couple of ways short of the writers being extremely clever, so when the end does come, its kind of a let down, even if it looks good.
As I said this is a film that I really like, despite the fact that there is much within it that I really love. In a weird way it's a film that comes really close to being one of the great recent science fiction films, but frustratingly stops just short of the mark. That said, this is definitely worth taking a look at if you run across it or if you can get yourself over to Lincoln Center for one of the screenings at Open Roads 2012 either tomorrow evening or on the afternoon of the 13th