Directed by Chang Jung-chi
Mystery / Thriller
As the opening film of East Winds Film Festival 2014, ‘Partners In Crime’ could not have provided a better piece of cinema for the premiere of the festival.
The film follows the story of three unlikely teens (Wu Chien-ho, Deng Yu-k’ai and Cheng Kai-yuan) thrown together after discovering the body of a classmate (Yao Ai-ning) on their way to school. From there, the film explores the relationship that builds between them as a result of this connection, and their journey to find out the truth about the girl’s death.
‘Partners In Crime’ ticks all the boxes for a perfect film. The storyline is slowly unfurled over the course of the film, and is constantly throwing in twists and turns that keep intriguing the audience. Character development is flawless, both in writing and in the performances given, as each member of the trio is developed with deeper aspects of their personality, and their emotions in this difficult situation are explored carefully and with poise.
No one member of the trio is more or less developed than the other – each has incredible depth and detail given to their character and it is wonderful to see such equality between the characters when it is all too easy to dedicate to a ‘main’ character.
Yao Ai-ning also gives a wonderful performance as Hsia Wei-chiao, the girl found dead at the beginning. Told in flashback, seeing her emotional difficulties and her struggles at home and within her personal growth is very emotive, and an unusual touch to focus so heavily on a character introduced as deceased.
Chang Jung-chi executes stunning cinematography and use of setting, light and music throughout the film. It is evident in watching that each scene has been carefully constructed to produce a precise mood – particularly true with his use of lighting, which contrasts a grey and blue scheme with a yellow and orange throughout, making for a beautiful range of colours on screen. Set design and construction is also impeccably detailed, from the school to the lake to Hsia’a strange cave of a bedroom, everything is selected and refined.
From the first shots of the underwater opening credits, Chang Jung-chi conducts everything with a sense of mastery and careful artistic touch. No detail is left unexplored, no scene left without detail, no character without development. For only his second feature film, ‘Partners In Crime’ is a stunning piece of film that will captivate you with story and character and leave you in awe with its cinematic beauty.