Despite the fact that its style comes off as somewhat schizophrenic, Undoing is a film of remarkably direct emotions. The digital mise-en-scène—noticeably sub-par in terms of technical merit—is used (perhaps incidentally) to precise aesthetic ends; the flat, cold images convey a sense of ongoing spiritual unraveling in the midst of social isolation, forming a stylistic union between story and theme that distinguishes the film from many of its genre brethren. It takes some time for this effect to gel (given the film’s tendency to go off on stylistic romps reminiscent of Requiem for a Dream), but the investment is worthwhile when one considers how it elevates the film from its routine drug/crime plot into something of more genuinely humanistic concerns. Sam Kim (Sung Kang) returns to Los Angeles one year after a botched drug sale saw the death of his best friend; hoping to pick up the pieces of the past and aid those he left behind, Sam finds himself falling back into the lifestyle he meant to leave in the first place. While the overall story isn’t anything to write home about (in this case, the less mob-related films you’ve seen, the more likely you are to be impressed), writer-director Chan Lee manages to instill his film with enough unique touches to keep things interesting for even veterans of the genre (notable is the antagonistic Leon, played by Russell Wong as if he were host to the spirit of Christopher Walken). In its best moments, the film seems to metamorphose into a wordless horror film, its characters solemnly wandering their modern landscapes as if prisoners of their bodies. Come for these occasional moments of visual elation, but stay for Ceiri Torjussen’s sporadically great score, which seems to echo from some distant netherworld were the ghosts of the departed continue their aimless drift.
- Group Hug Productions
- 90 min
- Chris Chan Lee
- Chris Chan Lee
- Sung Kang, Kelly Hu, Tom Bower, Russell Wong, Jose Zuniga, Leonardo Nam, Bobby Lee, Mary Mara
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