Movie Review: Caught in the Web

Chen Kaige

By William Kustiono

When news travels faster than the process of comprehension, it can be an uncontrollable wild fire. A single controversial video released on the Internet can potentially harm society and those featured in the video. Caught in the Web, a movie directed by Chen Kaige, reflects the contemporary world where media has a great impact towards the society. We recently had an exclusive interview with the director Chen Kaige and he was very excited  that the film Caught in the Web will open theatrically nationwide in the US in late October this year.

The movie begins with a scene on a bus when a white-collar worker named Ye Lanqiu, played by Gao Yuanyuan, refuses to give up her seat to an elderly citizen. Her insolence is caught by a journalist intern, and is videotaped and aired on a news show. The video becomes viral and spreads around the Internet triggering a massive debate among society. There is no more privacy for Ye. People are daringly digging for her personal information and post it online. As issue intensifies, a terrifying impact is brought upon the journalist intern and Ye’s boss.

Caught in the Web is shown in different point of views – Ye Lanqiu, the intern’s family, Ye’s boss, and the public audience/society who watch the video. Ye Lanqiu is aware of her problem, but she discloses it and keeps everything inside her heart. During the bus trip to her office, she accidentally lets her depression out and in result, society sees her rudeness. We can see that Ye Lanqiu is hiding something that she does not want others to know. Ye’s boss notices that she looks unusual and is in confused state. Ye has an important role in an upcoming meeting and Ye’s boss needs her to be on beat. While consoling Ye, his wife comes across them and gets jealous. For the journalist intern, she decides to pass the recording of Ye Lanqiu to her supervisor and it gets broadcasted to the public. Aware of Ye’s actions, people start digging for Ye’s personal information, including her past schools and her current job.

The movie moves at a fast pace within the two hours, and each moment leaves the audience excited. This movie incorporates many popular actors and actresses such as Wang Xueqi and Yao Chen. Both of them have remarkable acting experiences that are reflected within their characters in the story.

This movie is a scenario that can potentially occur within the real world in our contemporary Internet society. The news media is a source people believe in, and it is information that people don’t question. But, what happens when the media decides to deviate from the truth? This could happen in our lives. This movie appears to be related with the current biggest debate in Chinese society about online searches and disclosure of private information. Perhaps Chen Kaige is using the movie to tell us to explore this topic further in the modern-day China.

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