A carnival of singing, dancing, car chases and bullets, Wen Jiang’s Gone With The Bullets gets lost in an amorphous hall of mirrors.
Shanghai Noonby Mark Wilshin
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
Starring, written and directed by Wen Jiang, Gone With The Bullets is a follow-up to his previous Berlinale entry Let The Bullets Fly – only this time, rather than a fortress in rural China, it takes place in the Art Deco glamour of 1920s Shanghai. And it’s just as bonkers – with Earth-rolling moons, global hooker contests, a winking rendition of George Gershwin’s Summertime a decade before he wrote it, and a souped-up denouement of old-time jalopies, machine guns and every bride and her groom. As the credits roll though, we’re told that the film is also based on the same murder case as the first feature film in China, and for sure Wen Jiang’s Gone With The Bullets offers a rumination on filmmaking in China – from the Lumière wannabe Wu-Six who believes realism is the key to a good movie to the meddling money men, along with police intervention and foreign investors, all keen to make a film that can be appreciated by everyone. And from the looks of Gone With The Bullets, the studio bosses appear to have won out. But partly in English, with French police, Russian uniforms and dancing girls from all over the world, there seems to be a welcome softening towards a wider, global audience. Nevertheless, firmly anchored in the genre of Chinese comedy, Gone With The Bullets is still one bridge too far.
Gone With The Bullets is now showing at the 65th Berlin Film Festival