Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
In the country of the one-eyed the blind man is king.
A screwball comedy that doesn't really work- at least, not if you don't know Chinese and Chinese culture, and perhaps not even then: Chinese people in the audience didn't seem much more amused than the rest of us. The eccentric subtitles don't help either. It still has some interesting aspects and is worth watching though. Our hero is a car mechanic who believes he is under a curse; he is impotent with his wife, he accidentally destroys a car he is working on for a gangster, he has a continually stiff neck, he gets into road accidents, he can't even cook properly. His wife plays mahjong obsessively. A senior gangster and the mother of his child fight over the child. It's all bound together by Blind Liu, the fortune-teller, who is phoney as a plastic Buddha, but who cons most of the characters with his mystical mumbo-jumbo. A wonderfully portrayed character who can hardly believe his luck he manouevres the characters around to suit his desires. He tells our hero that he must kill the "villain" whose fate adversely affects his karma, which sets the plot in action. Our hero's wife- who Liu makes a move on- is about the only character not fooled by him. Ironically, Liu's warnings and prophesies are fulfilled in the end, but not in ways he meant, and all ends happily for the sympathetic characters. Swiftly and economically shot, with some eerie dream sequences well-differentiated from the "real" aspects.
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