GODSPEED [Edinburgh International Film Festival]

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

Taiwanese mule Nadow makes a living transporting drugs across the country for his gangster employers in a variety of inconspicuous manners. This time opting for a taxi, he is picked up by pushy driver Old Hui, a man down on his luck and craving any kind of human connection. As the two make their way on the lengthy journey, they find themselves in increasingly bizarre situations.

 

Godspeed takes a while to properly get into, for a number of reasons. It’s not until after two lengthy scenes that Nadow’s story even starts, initially making it a little confusing exactly who the main characters are supposed to be. Once the taxi ride road trip gets going and it becomes clear this will be the main crux of the film, there is not enough going on to properly maintain your interest.

 

The resultant tale is something akin to an organised crime riff on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, with the main pair seeming to be bit players in a much larger story. The major events of a crime saga mostly take place off-screen without them, and it’s only in the few scenes that their story overlaps that we have any idea of exactly what’s happening. For the rest of the time, we are left with a somewhat absurdist road movie where character interactions take up most of the time, but not to any meaningful degree.

 

Hui’s desire to strike up conversation comes across as painfully desperate, the man not actually realising it’s quite possible that the reason nobody wants anything to do with him is that he’s really, really irritating. Characters tell long and rambling stories to make relatively simple points, and while this can certainly be an interesting method of characterisation if done right (like, say, in Quentin Tarantino’s films) here it just ends up seeming like laboriously overwritten dialogue that leaves you practically begging for them to get to the point so something might actually happen.

 

It’s a little difficult to properly classify exactly what kind of film Godspeed is trying to be, as it jumps between several things, often at jarring moments. It’s not exciting enough to be an action movie nor is it really funny enough to be a comedy, even one as dark as its humour is painted. It’s possible that there may be cultural issues lost in translation, but for the most part it seems to merely be a meandering tale that takes what feels like a long time to not really go anywhere.

 

GODSPEED / CERT: TBA / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: MONG-HONG CHUNG / STARRING: MICHAEL HUI, NA-DOU LIN, LEON DAI, CHUNG-HUA TOU, MATT CHUNG-TIEN WU / RELEASE DATE: TBA

 

Expected Rating: 7/10

 

Actual Rating:



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