Film Review: Life for Sale (2021) by Tom Teng

&#8220Life for Sale&#8221 is a novel by Yukio Mishima that was very first serialised in the weekly magazine Playboy in 1968, and it is the story of a young copywriter for Tokyo Ad who, right after a suicide try, advertises his personal life for sale in a Tokyo newspaper and receives bizarre requests. The notion of Taiwanese writer and director Tom Teng’s ambitious very first function “Life for Sale” is primarily based on Mishima’s book which also has a meta-look in it.

Life for Sale is screening on New York Asian Film Festival

Realising he is in a field exactly where each day he is forced to stick a cost tag on men and women, disheartened life insurance coverage salesman Liang (Fu Meng-po) begins taking into consideration the concept of offing himself. A clumsy try to do it swallowing industrial quantity of cinnamon, chewing gum and … carrots, only prove the World wide web is not the appropriate spot to come across suicide techniques. That day Liang ends up spending but a further evening drinking beer with his querulous neighbor, single mum Yu-jen (Joanne Tseng) whose teenage son is waiting for a heart transplant. Factors precipitate when exasperated Liang punches an annoying co-worker in the face and is fired, though getting a lesson in how the enterprise considers him only an expendable commodity. His low sale-price is not worth what they had invested in him, as straightforward and mathematic as that!

When he finds a copy of Yukio Mishima’s novel &#8220Life for Sale&#8221 left behind on a bus, Liang decides to adhere to its lead and place his life up for sale in the paper. The very first to show an interest is a shady underworld boss named Mr. Wang (Tsai Ming-shiou), who desires Liang to go and recover his wife’s lap dog which has been kidnapped by a rival gangster (Melvin Sia) and his thugs. Enter two mysterious government secret agents. They are looking for a Guinea pig to enroll in a new-drug secret testing, and who’s greater for that goal than somebody promoting his personal life? From start off to finish, a pesky cockroach follows &#8211 and from time to time influences &#8211 the action, perhaps a reminder that their specie is supposed to survive humans.

The plot is absolutely stimulating as it is bound to pose lots of concerns and create a vast array of thoughts. By means of devaluating the protagonist’s existence, the film tries to discover mortality and death and &#8211 as a reflection &#8211 the which means and goal of staying alive. Beginning up as a goofy comedy &#8211 only a tad black for its suicide topic matter &#8211 “Life for Sale” quickly mutates and requires a turn for a substantially darker territory right after the likelihood encounter with Mishima’s novel. Like in a sort of time-travelling relay race, the book on the bus passes the “absurdity baton” from 1 “Life for Sale” to the Taiwanese namesake and triggers a chain reaction of mutations. Channeling the camp and intense spirit of the original supply material, the film twists into a genre mashup of thriller, romance, family members drama, noir, comedy, with a touch of sci-fi and a hefty dose of gore.

It is certainly a entertaining ride for about two thirds of film, but gradually the feeling that there is also substantially on the plate begins to creep in, till it gets pretty challenging to adhere to what is going on. The narrative begins losing grip, the stream splitting into also quite a few rivulets, with some of them operating dry. &nbspAt the finish we are left pondering &#8211 which is usually a excellent issue &#8211 but significantly less about the which means of life and extra if there is ever going to be a aspect two to round points up, or if this is meant to be the dawn of a new Taiwanese anti-super-hero Universe.

Nonetheless, there are other points to be savored. The higher production worth is properly on show, the action scenes and the fights are fashionable and properly-choreographed with a nod to some modern day classics, like the notorious corridor fight and the colorful madness of Miike. Cinematography and editing are polished and operate collectively in a virtuous synergy. Fu Meng-po does a excellent job in his metamorphosis from the initial harmless loser to the final action hero and there is a excellent interaction and chemistry with Joanne Tseng. It is just a shame that her character feels “un-finished” and incredibly inconsistent, leaving and re-getting into the plot in a confusing manner.

Al in all, “Life for Sale” is a fantastic show of the exceptional Taiwanese Cinema potentials. An enjoyable piece of entertaining and eye-pleasing action that will absolutely delight these prepared to forgive its plot missteps.



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