Wrath of Silence (Bao Wu Lie Sheng)

Set on the outskirts of a city in mining villages in China, a little boy goes missing and his outcast mute father, Zhang Baomin, who has a temper and violent streak goes seeking for him. In tangent, a lawyer is being investigated by the authorities for working for mob boss Chang Wannian who is aggressively taking over rival mines. It’s not long until the worlds of the three collide and Baomin is being hunted down after inadvertently rescuing the lawyers kidnapped daughter, which may provide clues to where his son might be.

The film initially opens with promise, with some beautiful cinematography over the desert like rural areas of vast dusty mining territories. It moves along fairly nicely but it becomes clear that the plot becomes a bit too overwritten with it building to a twist that when it comes you’re left with one big sigh than staring in marvel. It did draw my mind to the iconic and brilliant Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance but it only served to show how pale it is by comparison. The fighting choreography felt unique in it’s early stages, rough, uncoordinated yet surprisingly successful for the protagonist but it never amounted to any form of spectacle, which it probably could have done with. It would appear that the writer and director Xin Yukin maybe intended the mystery behind the character to get the audience on his side, but he too often appears unsympathetic and that his journey to find his son is one that is a burden than trying to save a loved one. Perhaps there are certain film techniques that are more appropriate to Chinese audiences than Western, but the musical score too often feels like it is in the wrong genre. Tie in with some very amateurish and inexplicable CGI input, The Wrath of Silence doesn’t appear to be an ideal calling card for Xin Yukun to western audiences.

★★

Chris Aitken