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Black Coal, Thin Ice

  • Crime/detective
  • Mystery
  • 2014
  • Diao Yinan
  • 109 mins
  • 15

Summary

An ex cop and his ex partner decide to follow up on investigation of a series of murders that ended their careers and shamed them, when identical murders begin again.

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Having not quite broken through with Uniform (2003) and Night Train (2007), Diao Yinan makes a more positive impression with this atmospheric noir, which delights in flouting generic convention at every twisting turn. Five years after bungling a 1999 murder case in a coal town in the remote northeastern Chinese province of Heilongjiang, security guard Zhang Zili (Liao Fan) drinks to cope with his guilt and the break-up of his marriage. However, when a former cop colleague informs him about a spate of copycat killings involving widely disseminated body parts, Zhang can't resist a little private investigation. The trail takes him to a backstreet dry cleaner's and the widow of the initial victim, who also has connections to the next two casualties. But nothing is quite as it seems in this sedately paced and teasingly digressive story, which is knowingly played by a fine cast and mesmerisingly photographed by Dong Jinsong. Diao's wintry sense of place is impeccable, as are his allusions to classic Hollywood thrillers and the price China has had to pay for its economic transformation. The odd flourish misfires, but this remains bleakly stylish and disarmingly compelling.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
Zhang ZiliLiao Fan
Wu ZhizhenGwei Lun Mei
Liang ZhijunWang Xuebing
Rong RongWang Jingchun
Captain WangYu Ailei

Crew

rolename
DirectorDiao Yinan

Details

Theatrical distributor
Studio Canal
Released on
2015-06-05
Languages
Chinese
Guidance
Violence, swearing, sex scenes.
Formats
Colour
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