Film Review: Soul

Article by Pui See Tsang

Soul, directed by Chung Mong-hong, tells the story of A-chuan (Joseph Chang), an introverted sous chef at a Japanese restaurant in Taipei. After he passes out one day and is taken to the hospital, a doctor diagnoses him with depression. He is sent home to rural Taichung to stay with his father, Wang (Jimmy Wong), and sister, Yun (Chen Shiang-chyi). A-chuan eventually kills Yun for being “unsisterly”. Wang, shocked by the incident, tries to cover up his son’s crime.

Chung Mong-hong is an up and coming Taiwanese director. Soul is his third film, following the black comedy Parking (2008) and The Fourth Portrait (2010). Featuring topnotch performances by seasoned actors Chin Shih-chieh, Leon Dai and Tuo Tsung-hua, Soul provides audiences a truly entertaining experience. Casting Wong as an ailing, reclusive father is unusual and surprising, as it challenges the renowned kung-fu actor to take on a role he is not used to. Known for his commanding on-screen presence, Wong admirably invests in his aged character with both strength and grace.

The film explores cruelty and pain in a cold, detached manner, but also offers a glimpse of hope and human warmth through its occasional humor. Though grim at times, Soul is a highly watchable film thanks to the superb actors on screen.

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