Macau's return to Chinese sovereignty in 1999 ushered in that city's "golden age." By 2012, the value of Macau's gaming industry was nine times that of Las Vegas, and Macao had become the ...
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Macau's return to Chinese sovereignty in 1999 ushered in that city's "golden age." By 2012, the value of Macau's gaming industry was nine times that of Las Vegas, and Macao had become the world's foremost gambling destination. During this period, a unique profession arose: "casino brokers," who provided Macao's gamblers with high-interest lines of credit, under-the-table bets, and other services. It was a high-stakes, high-reward business that made for more thrilling play, but amplified the risks for players, brokers and casinos alike. This heightened risk made gambling more exciting and more dangerous for the participants; it also impacted their interpersonal relationships and outlook on life. It was as if everyone involved were walking on a tightrope. By 2014, however, China's ongoing anti-corruption campaign had dealt a serious blow to the gaming industry in Macao, ending the golden age. This is the background against which our story takes place.
Perhaps too much source material to cover, the film fails to mesh into a coherent end product. The concept and story is great, so is the setting using Macau and how it really delves into the underground universe of casinos, but trying to cover multiple storylines is too much to ask for in under 2 hours. The story is an emotional one and requires a strong female lead to carry, but I think Bai fails to do so. While she shines in certain emotionally charged film, she doesn't have the look and feel of Xiao O. While the film has a pretty straightforward storyline and character progression, but the path it took to get their is too loose. An interesting group of characters, each one with their own personality and motivation, and how all of them succumbs to Macau is one I've heard so often over the years.
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