Eye For Film >> Movies >> Luxury Car (2006) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
It is the many-layered complexities of loyalty and necessity that make Luxury Car such an interesting film. Yanhong has been living in Wuhan for over a year when her father, a schoolteacher from their country village, comes looking for her brother, who has disappeared. She works as a hostess in a karaoke club and sleeps with the boss. Of course, her father knows nothing of this.
On one level, there is the family story. Yanhong's mother is dying. Her wish is to see her son once more before cancer finally claims her. Yanhong knows where her brother is, but won't tell. Her father is an honourable man from an earlier time in China's history. A policeman, who is about to retire, aids him in his search. They share an understanding of duty and responsibility.
On the next level is Yanhong's life in the city. The girls in the club are worked hard and their clients treat them as chattels. The club owner is an ex-con who expects to be serviced by Yanhong whenever he pleases and yet plays along when introduced to her father as her 'boyfriend'. The film is fast moving and, unlike most Chinese cinema, has a distinct Western feel to it. The location photography is superb and the performances are exceptional. Wu You Cai brings an air of dignity and humility to Yanhong's father, expressing shock and sadness with infinite subtlety, while Tian Yuan runs the full gamut of emotions as Yanhong struggles to bring the two aspects of her life together.
Ultimately, as the past catches up with Yanhong's boss, violence erupts and suddenly Luxury Car is a gangster movie, with everything that entails, including a chase though the rain wet streets at night and a classic ambush that would make Dirty Harry proud. Writer/director Wang Chao has the confidence of a veteran filmmaker and yet this is only his third outing. As with so many aspects of commercial life, the Chinese are coming!Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006