Black Coal, Thin Ice (Bai ri yan huo) (Yi’nan Diao, 2014): China

Reviewed by Furkan Altunkaynak. Viewed at SBIFF 2015.

Old fashion bad guy catching, detective movie from China, Black Coal, Thin Ice by director Yi’nan Diao.

Feeling of this movie is delivered to audience was really successfully done. I felt melancholic after the movie and the next morning. This movie feels far from faces, object, and feels cold. Even though, every character well design with mine-en-scene elements, cinematography greatly makes you think that you don’t belong to this world and don’t try to make sense of these people. It’s hard to empathy with set design objects which is just the thing that director wanted.

The things will happen in a moment that you wont expect them, slowly, and wishingly by the characters. I like that feeling when I was watching the changing moment and the realization that hitting moment happens way after; while I’m thinking I am still watching the same action. Things happen without even knocking the doors. You realize by the acting that was a moment of change. That is because we are not watching what is going on in the plot with the characters inside the film; we are watching it as a third person that don’t much have information about the characters. The best thing in this movie is the acting performances.

Honestly, my friend next to me said that it was such boring film. Even though, she was one of the people like myself that should’ve analyze the movie, she lost her attention too much. Which means this feeling that wanted to give to the viewers is overdosed and a lot more then it needed to be. I can only imagine a normal person spending money to see the movie for the second time to watch this with out showing some kind of connection between the person and the film.

However I like the movie, I felt something beyond boring in these shots. I see the life; my grandfather was a killer detective in his youth, before computers and all the other technology that makes catching bad guys easier didn’t exist. The way that this movie shown was the way, that I always imagine his stories. Somehow slow going, takes a lot of time to process. Every sentence is important and deeper meaning, and acting pauses between the words, have a lot more meaning then words.

Since I watch the movie only one time yet I am capable of saying these words; there is some points of the movie either I miss or greatly done on purpose. Like who is the real killer was in conclusion part of the film. Was all of it a lie or not? Which being said, don’t try to guess the ending or what is going happen next. Anyways, you will find yourself in a maze like life. If you are after detective movies and interested in old fashion puzzle solving this is a film you should experience once, different experience for your collection.

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