Somewhere in Time
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Film Review: ‘Duckweed’

7 February 2017 4:41 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The biggest surprise about “Duckweed,” the sophomore feature written and directed by China’s superstar writer-blogger Han Han, is its absolute predictability. A dramedy in which a car racer time-travels to the late ’90s and becomes his estranged father’s partner-in-crime, the film features plot turns and emotional arcs that are all easy to anticipate. What the movie does reflect is how China is moving ahead so fast that millennials are already glancing at the not-so-distant past and its values with jaded amusement and nostalgia. More relaxed and carefree than any of the Lunar New Year blockbusters jostling for the holiday crowd, the film is sprinkled with witty grace notes and is crowd-pleasing without being too ingratiating or idiotic.

Those who admire Han’s pithy prose or the sublime poetry of his debut feature “The Continent” may feel he’s punching below his weight here, but the absence of intellectual »

- Maggie Lee

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