Directed by Yang Shupeng
Action / Western, 105′
Initially the concept of a Chinese Western film sounds like it would be extremely difficult to execute without feeling too Americanised. Director Yang Shupeng does a surprisingly good job of maintaining a strong sense of Chinese identity throughout the film, however his attention may have been too focused on this, as the plot and character development of the film are extremely underwhelming.
Stylistically, the film is interesting to watch. Yang Shupeng creates an unique landscape that sticks very closely to Chinese characteristics, yet incorporates aspects of the Western genre without losing its traits. The locations are used to very great effect, with vast sweeping aerial shots that are stunning, truly revealing the extent of the budget in this film.
The constructed sets have a real sense of authenticity to them, with Western elements that blend with a sense of Chinese history. The director is careful to not stray away from his Chinese authenticities in the film, and as a result the film retains a real sense of depth in terms of the settings.
However, despite the detailed look of the film, the characters are woefully underdeveloped and unoriginal. Yang Shupeng employs stock genre characters with little additions to their personalities, resulting in rather two-dimensional performances from the cast.
These weak performances make it difficult to engage with the film, especially when combined with a thin and confusing plot that lacks a sense of direction for the majority of the film. There is no sense of connection to the cast, and it merely feels as though they are ornamental devices to serve the high budget visuals.
Sound, however, is well used and executed in ‘An Inaccurate Memoir’, with an interesting blend of effects on the diegetic sound, including echoes, muffles and reverberations, and the powerful rock-inspired soundtrack provides a darker edge to the setting, if overpowering at time.
Overall the film lacks a sense of cohesiveness to the plot and a strong cast of well-developed characters. However, it is an interesting Asian take on a typically American genre despite the fact that the execution missed the mark in several key areas and was too focused on smaller, less important details at times.
Review by Hannah Albone