His first two films (The Days and Frozen) were genuinely distinctive, but since then Wang Xiaoshuai appears to have gone off the boil. Drifters centres on a Taiwanese slacker repatriated from the US where he'd gone as an illegal stowaway. The man embarks on a listless relationship with an actress from a travelling Shanghai opera troupe, but is perhaps more concerned with getting access to the son he fathered in America, who's now in the custody of his mother's parents. The protagonist's lack of energy and enthusiasm, however, infects the movie, so that only when he abducts the child do things begin to come alive, a subsequent fight with the cops being the most exhilarating sequence in the entire proceedings. It's all most believable, but the number of scenes featuring the lead looking moody and bored prevents the film ever becoming engrossing.
Cast and crew