Rating (2.5 out of 5)
Summary: The $1 rental on iTunes a few weeks ago. I took a chance, and while not the best film, I am glad I took the time. The film is overly long, running at 2 1/2 hours and unfortunately, the story doesn’t have the pace and the film drags. There are nice moments and the Buddhist religion is fascinating to me and drew me into the film. Most importantly, I did want to see how the film ended.
Plot: A young criminal Tabei slays a deer with a sacred stone in its mouth. He must return the stone to a religious place, and sets on a journey across Tibet.
Detail: This is not the first Chinese film I screened where one of the individuals is reluctant to fall in love. Especially, where one of the couple is focused on a mission and love is secondary. But I find myself mesmerized by how the love grows between the couple. Tragically, one of them dies. In that moment you see the tenderness between them both.
The movie has three parallel stories. The main journey is one. The second is two brothers are chasing Tabei seeking revenge for the murder of their father. Third, is a writer chases Tabei.
The writer chasing down Taibei captured my attention. You realize something off after the second stop, where the Taibei buys a broadsword. Is the writer chasing Tabei or enacting the story to be able to write his fiction of Tabei? This parallel had me very interested and the connections he made and the relation to the stories were intriguing.
The pace is the killer here. We see him walking across the landscape, and trudging in circles. It was beautiful shots and the colors were extremely vivid. The good moments I cited above, were separated by these shots of the landscape, and the movie would lose momentum. 2 1/2 hours was too long for this type of film. An efficient story would have shortened and improved this film.