6.6/10
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21 user 124 critic

Bai ri yan huo (2014)

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An ex cop and his ex partner decide to follow up on investigation of a series of murders that ended their careers and shamed them, when identical murders begin again.

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11 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »

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Zhang Zili
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Wu Zhizhen
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Liang Zhijun
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Ailei Yu
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An ex cop and his ex partner decide to follow up on investigation of a series of murders that ended their careers and shamed them, when identical murders begin again.

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21 March 2014 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Black Coal, Thin Ice  »

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1.85 : 1
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The first cut was 210 minutes long. See more »

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Somewhat enigmatic Chinese mystery with strengths and flaws
23 November 2016 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

An ex-detective re-investigates a strange unsolved murder case that effectively ended his career five years previously. In doing so he ends up becoming increasingly involved with a young woman who seems to be connected with a series of similar killings.

It was good to see an example of a Chinese neo-noir. My previous experience with films from China has been usually of movies of epic proportions with big production values. So it made for a refreshing change to see something more low-key and contemporary. This one sets out its stall very well with the sinister discovery of various body parts being found in bags of coal spread all over the country, huge distances apart. The introduction of a femme fatale into the mix only ups the intrigue level further. And I have to say that on the whole I did enjoy this film and found it compelling, with its Chinese origins ensuring that it was a little different and punctuated with unpredictable moments. By the end of the piece it would be only fair to say that some questions still remain. I thought the ending was really very strange indeed with an odd final few moments and an ambiguous feeling. It almost feels like a superfluous ending but maybe I missed something in it. In truth odd things happen on a number of occasions throughout this one and reasons are not always very forthcoming, I am guessing this is a film that would benefit from a re-watch possibly. Also good was the wintry atmosphere of the snowy locales where the action unfolds that created a feeling all of its own which worked well. But I would probably have to conclude that, while I definitely liked this one, it does falls short of being great. It's not really that suspenseful for this type of film and the plot development doesn't ultimately reveal all that good a mystery in the final analysis. Certainly a good enough movie I have to emphasise but it just has a few hard to ignore unsatisfying flaws as well though.


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