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The Drummer (2007)
"Zhan. gu" (original title)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 715 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 23 critic

A gangster's willful son is sent into hiding over sexual misconduct. Sent far, he unexpectedly takes up with remote Buddhist drummers who slowly but profoundly influence his life.

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Title: The Drummer (2007)

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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sid
...
Hong Dou (as Lee Sinje)
Roy Cheung ...
Ah Chiu
...
Sina
Ruo-yu Liu ...
Lan Jie
Chih-chun Huang ...
Sifu / Master (as Huang Chih-Chun)
...
Stephen Ma
Hei-Yi Cheng ...
Carmen (as Yumiko Cheng)
...
Kwan
Huang Shih Yun ...
Milin
Hsiu-Chin Lin ...
Shan
Tu Yu-Fong ...
Yilu
Yi-Ting Huang ...
Ting
Kun-Ming Huang ...
Ching
Bo-Ren Cheng ...
Shu
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Storyline

Hong Kong mob lord Kwan's spoiled-rotten heir Sid is caught having sex with father's 'business partner' Stephen Ma's daughter. To avoid an honor murder, Sid is rushed to the Taiwanese countryside, incognito, with a bodyguard. There Sid decides to transfer his rock drummer ambitions to the reputed local Zen percussion ensemble of master Ah Chiu, who uses music lessons as Buddhist life training. Still, crime connections catch up. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music | Romance

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

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Release Date:

11 October 2007 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

A dobos  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Drummer is the first feature film from Hong Kong and Taiwan selected for competition at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won The Hollywood Reporter's Critics' Pick. See more »

Quotes

Stephen Ma: Qing dynasty emperor Yong Zheng has a young son named Qian Long who was a smart boy. It was decided that he would succeed the throne, but his older brother became jealous of him and plotted against him. Qian Long survived the ordeal. What do you think the father did? He gave his rogue son a cup of poison.
Kwan: Qian Long begged for his brother's life, but to maintain peace the father killed him anyway. I watched the TV series, too.
Stephen Ma: Don't get excited. I'm not asking you to kill your son. I want his ...
See more »

Connections

References Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Zen & the Art of Putting a Bullet Thru Someone's Face
10 December 2010 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

What other movie gives you placid scenes of babbling brooks & dragonflies ...then WHACK! someone gets their head blown off ...then ahhh, tranquil mountaintop trees ...then WHACK! someone throws a pig carcass all over the dining room ...then ahh, pretty caterpillar on a leaf... etc, etc, etc.

This movie is unique, that's for sure. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The story presents the bipolar life of a gangster's son. Raised on violence but with a strong inner "goodness", he is torn between two incompatible worlds. His father is a ruthless criminal who, in his spare time, hunts wild boar as if they'd insulted his mama. His sister (mother figure) is a level-headed, sensitive person who, in her spare time, rescues dogs & kittens from the streets. Eventually our hero hooks up with a bunch of diaper-wearing, drum-beating freaks on a mountaintop, and that's when things start to happen. I told you this movie is unique.

Some parts are delightfully predictable--almost borderline sappy--but there are some clever plot twists as well. Really, though, this movie shouldn't be watched for its plot. It's about the spiritual journey we all face in life, whether or not we hook up with drum-beating freaks. The drums represent a primitive connection with oneself. The drums represent discipline & a return to sanity when we're bogged down with "too much mind". As the opening narration indicates, the first sound we ever hear is that of a drumbeat (the rhythm of our mother's heart), and this forges deep connection with our spirit. There are some very interesting thoughts presented on the subject, and while I was initially skeptical about how smacking a tom-tom could relate to a person's soul, I was gradually mystified and eventually convinced that there's something worth pondering.

If you're starting to doze off, don't worry. A few brutal murders, dismembered body parts & pig carcasses ought to wake you up again. This contrasts sharply against the serene mountaintop and calm disposition (not to mention vegetarian meals) of the zen drummers where the kid finds temporary refuge. One reviewer said that the contrast makes the film schizophrenic, and it certainly does, but in a deliberate way. It did strike me as a bit disjoint, though. I was expecting a film with slower pacing to allow us to digest it, but this flick comes at you pretty fast. As a result sometimes it feels like we're getting two halves of two different movies rather than an integrated whole. To me, this film could've easily been an hour longer, but I supposed 113 mins is pretty long for most audiences already.

The music is very nice, with a soundtrack performed by the great young cellist Trey Lee. And of course there's the fantastic performance of the "U Theatre" drummers (who play themselves in the film).

Overall, I'd say this film is like a blend of "The Karate Kid" & "Scarface" with a dash of "The Bird People of China". Similar films are: the Korean buddhist/gangster flick "Bittersweet Life", Takeshi Kitano's Japanese masterpiece "Fireworks" and an obscure but very enjoyable Vietnamese flick called "Buffalo Boy". All worth checking out.


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