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"Mountains May Depart" (aka "Shan he gu ren") is an odd experience of a movie. Why? Well, because it is on one hand a very nicely told story with three different story lines, but on the other hand the movie is excruciatingly slow paced to the point of where it tests the will to continue in the audience.
There is no doubt that director Zhangke Jia managed to pull off a very good job here in terms of bringing the story to life on the screen. And it is a very unique and beautiful story told, one that sinks in deep and sticks with you. Just a shame that it was done in such a slow and monotone pace.
The story is divided into three different segments, all of which are interwoven with one another in one or more aspects. And that is what makes the story so interesting. That, and because the story lines and subplots were interesting, and the characters portrayed in the movie were vibrant, colorful and realistic - giving the audience someone to relate to and identify with. Of course, all three stories were not equally great, and the audience will like one story better than the other. Personally, I enjoyed the first story centered on Shen Tao the most.
As for the cast, well I can say that they had indeed done a great job in the casting process and gotten some really good talents to star in the movie. I was especially impressed with Tao Zhao's performance, and Sylvia Chang also really brought something good to the movie with her performance.
While "Mountains May Depart" is without a doubt a beautiful movie, then it just lacked that particular ingredient to make the movie unique. But it is definitely well worth a viewing if you enjoy a good drama with a well-written storyline. However, keep in mind that the pacing of the movie is slow, very, very slow.
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