Quitting

"Good"

Quitting Review


Director Zhang Yang's Quitting, which chronicles the rise and fall of Chinese actor Jia Hongsheng, is a difficult film in several respects. It's not an easy chore to watch a person's life crumble, and here the task is made even more taxing by virtue of the fact that this movie is based on a true story and, amazingly, its cast is comprised entirely by real people portraying themselves. In addition to traditional narrative filmmaking, Yang mixes documentary-like interview footage with several scenes where the camera pulls back to reveal the actors performing the material on the set of a play. Yang's inventiveness is commendable, but his daring causes the film to become derailed on several occasions. Add to that a pace which makes the second half of the film crawl to the finish, and ultimately Qutting can feel a bit too unnecessarily weighed down and excessive.

Jia Hongsheng was on the cusp of stardom in the 1980s, having gained fame playing the roles of villains in several Chinese B-movies. The actor, however, suffered from extreme emotional instability and his experimentation with drugs led to a quick fall from grace. As his mental state continued to fracture, Jia's parents -- fellow actors who were long-time members of a theater troupe in Northern China -- packed up all of their belongings and moved in with their son, who was sharing an apartment with his sister. The road to recovery was, of course, beset by a multitude of pitfalls, eventually leading Jia's family to institutionalize the man.

The film doesn't flinch for an instant, as it brings you down into the depths of the family's despair. The first half of the movie balances the emotionally wrenching moments with a slight touch of aloofness, offering the viewer the correct distance to observe Jia's unraveling. The parents' painstaking efforts to save their son and the often volatile manner in which he dismisses their help can be demanding to watch but also quite moving.

The film's storytelling experimentation doesn't show itself immediately, and while the scenes of the "filmed play" are innovative, they also have a tendency to take you out of the moment. I'll stop short of calling Yang's approach a gimmick because the director's aesthetic is very grounded, but there's a point where his technique flirts a bit too closely with overwhelming the film's emotional core.

The performances are mostly effective and hard to find fault with, as one can only imagine the strength it took for these people to revisit such an agonizing period in their lives. Because the turns in Jia's life become so depressing and Yang is so intent to capture it all in such detail, the film feels much longer than its 112-minute running time. The movie simply becomes draining, leaving you fatigued to the point where you appreciate the conclusion solely because the experience has come to an end.

Qutting may be a flawed film, but it is nothing if not sincere. It's a work that doesn't shy away from ugliness and challenges you to confront its dark subject on similar terms. While undoubtedly too heavy for many, it will certainly garner a strong reaction from those who choose to seek it out.

Aka Zuotian.

Quitting the tie-dyed trade.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st March 2002

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.