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觀音山 (2010)
Buddha Mountain

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 10/06/2014
Summary: Slow start, but well worth watching

I worried that Buddha Mountain would fail to hold my interest. This is because the opening half-hour revolves around a trio of school-friends whom I found to be inconsequential and annoying. Even casting the lovely Bingbing didn't help. I just wanted to slap these twits, then throttle the director.

But Sylvie Chang appears just in time. First of all, she looks great ! And, as the attached review states, she has rarely been better. Although her constant smoking is annoying, her character is expertly drawn, and her story is gradually revealed through the actions of the kids, who even manage to become a little less irritating as they increasingly focus on helping her, and less on their own problems.

That journey is a bumpy one. Sylvia's character, also called Chang, is an irascible old Chinese opera singer who initially drives the trio nuts with her antics, such as rising at 6.30am to practise scales. Bingbing's character is forced to pay compensation for a customer she injured at work, so they steal money from Chang's secret stash, and put fake 'death' money in its place, replacing it with real money as they earn it back. This leads to a hilarious scene.

The final 45 minutes or so are very moving, as Sylvia builds her performance to a masterful conclusion. Warmly recommended.

Reviewer Score: 8