Fifth about The Seventh

The Looming Storm (Baoxue Jiang Zhi)

The Looming Storm: Dong Yue’s gloomy, moody neo-noir, as is wont in the genre, takes place in the mud, where the underbelly of society meets the ground; except, in this case, that is quite a literal observation, as well as such a large subset of society there is nothing else but the underbelly. The mystery itself is somewhat unsatisfying, but the societal observations and the character study of the protagonist make up for it. Duan Yihong gives a fine performance as the sycophantic small-time detective wannabe, intent in escaping the anonymity of his place; Jiang Yiyan is a sweet presence as his chance to do so. Visually, the film goes for muted colors, as if the constant heavy rain is washing away all life; director of photography Cai Tao captures the images beautifully. The sound design, including Ding Ke’s musical score, helps to enhance the somewhat non-human landscape.

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