THE WHISTLEBLOWER (2019) review

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After finding success in intimate dramas (Ocean Heaven) and romantic comedies (Finding Mr Right, Book of Love), director Xue Xiaolu tries her hand at the thriller with The Whistleblower, a Chinese-Australian co-production. It follows Ma Ke (Lei Jiayin), a Chinese expatriate working for an energy company in Melbourne that is on the verge of closing a lucrative deal with a Chinese conglomerate. Working for that conglomerate, and married to its CEO, is Zhou Siliang, Ma’s old flame. During a luxurious celebration of the upcoming deal, they briefly rekindle their romance even though they are both married – he happily to Judy (Qi Xi) and her on the verge of divorce. Soon after, Zhou Siliang is declared dead in a plane crash with several members of her team, only to reappear days later, reaching out to him: she knows too much about her husband’s illegal dealings and is on the run from him: furthermore, a recent earthquake near the company’s mines in Africa may not be what what it seems…

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SPEED ANGELS (2011) short review

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Jingle Ma’s Speed Angels bears the distinction of being an all-female racing film – a rare thing indeed – but squanders it with a soapy, mechanical plot and an absolute lack of excitement in the racing scenes. Its tale of a washed-up racing legend (Rene Liu), her rival both on the tracks and in love (Cecilia Cheung) and her gifted new partner (Tang Wei) whose gift for speed is hindered by confidence issues, is a reasonably solid dramatic spine, but it’s constantly undercut by cringeworthy melodrama wherein all female and male characters (here an assorted bunch of pan-Asian heartthrobs who get overshadowed by the main trio) are connected by a tangled web of love, whether it be puppy love, unrequited love, love triangles, tough love or self-interested love. And the racing is as uninvolving as the plotting: races amount to a stale alternation of in-cockpit shots and truly baffling all-CGI exterior shots. As often with Jingle Ma the film is all bathed in blinding levels of white light, except this time there’s also a whole lot of purple ; it is, quite sincerely, one of the purplest films ever. What little traction Speed Angels gets comes from Rene Liu, whose charisma makes her too good for that kind of film, and Tang Wei, who shows a delightful lighter side that her often dark or tragic roles don’t allow her to display. She also wears a different headband in every scene (possibly even every shot). Cecilia Cheung doesn’t register much: like in many of her post-comeback roles there’s a muted, awkward quality to her presence. Martial arts queen Cheng Pei Pei has fun in a small quirky role: she obviously knows what kind of film she’s in. **