Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Shanghai Mystery - Vengeance Wears Red and Dark Black Shades!

Meili (Vivian Wu – “The Pillow Book”, “Joy Luck Club”, “Heaven & Earth”)  is a young, contemporary mother who balances family life with her work as an interpreter. Her world changes dramatically when her husband is suddenly shot dead on his way to sign a joint-venture contract with an American company headed by corporate troubleshooter, Michael (Richard Burgi – “Desperate Housewives, “24”, “The Sentinel”). Now this simple woman enters a web of deceit, love and guilt in modern day Shanghai changing her into an Angel of Vengeance in this time bending murder mystery.

Rating: R
Genre: Murder Mystery
Director: Oscar L. Casto

In My Honest Opinion:
15 minutes in and I am loving the camera angles. The Director really plays with angles to elicit a feeling and I love that! Her dead husband appearing in his glasses, the flashbacks in the elevator, the many mirrors to show the many faces of Meili, etc.

When we meet Meili or Shanghai Red as she tells her client, she appears to be an uptight, first time prostitute. We suddenly find out that her discomfort is based on revenge. Her husband was murdered and although not a killer, wants to avenge his death. She feels her greed was the cause and she suffers between guilt and tradition. What's a woman to do? She puts on a red suit, black glasses and lipstick and begins living two separate lives.

The movie toggles between Meili talking to interrogators in prison, her mother and her son and her life.  It also moves between English and subtitles which I really liked.

Things really start to move when she meets Michael, a corporate "facilitator" played by Richard Burgi (from Desperate Housewives).  Vivian Wu does a wonderful job of playing the hurt confused, and desperate wife and mother and the sensual unsure woman on the verge of falling in love against her will.  The only negative thought I have about this movie is that I knew who had her husband killed 13 minutes in and who had done it a bit after but it was a good movie nontheless.

My heart broke for Meili when she realized her role in her husband's death. I was left to wonder if she ever gets out of prison. Part of me hopes she did!

To Purchase: AMAZON

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary DVD for the purpose of this review and my honest opinion.

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