A Cool Fish (Wuming zhi bei) 3.0 stars

Movie poster


A sidelined ex-cop, beaten and humiliated by those he swore to serve and protect, watches from the periphery, trying to piece together the motivation behind the crime. The pair of self-inflated punks, on the lam after the botched phone store robbery, opt to hole up in an apartment occupied by a woman paralyzed from the neck down. (Zhang Yu’s performance here is alternately hilarious and heartbreaking.) A rooftop respite in the rain not only puts kindness on view, it’s the best damn set you’ll find in a picture all year. I do love a good ensemble comedy/drama in which a seemingly disparate multi-character hand is shuffled and dealt in a manner that gradually draws the action to one central location for a climactic payoff. Pay close attention, because every seed that director and co-writer Rao Xiaozhi plants during the introductory passage — right down to the fireworks — will blossom before the picture ends.

Scott Marks

Length: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Rated: NR

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