Gimme Kudos- -
Old-fashioned, middle-aged Yang Hongqi claims that on a rainy night he saved a university coed from the threat of sexual violence on the outer limits of Nanjing city. He soon begs Gu Guoge, a superstar reporter at Nanjing Newspaper, for public kudos in the press. At first Gu ignores the absurd request, but pushed by Yang's desperate and tenacious attitude Gu begins to look at verifying the case. Finally he finds the victim, Ouyang Hua but no witness. Later, it is revealed why Yang strives so desperately to publicize his heroics: extolled as a model of a national laborer, his father has lived with many medals and commendations on the wall of his hometown and wants to hang Yang's commendation on the wall before his death.
Director Huang Jianxin is no stranger to FEFJ audiences: his latest film Gimme Kudos is his best in years.
This mystery-drama revolves around the life of Gu Guoge (Wang Zhiwen), a reporter for a Nanjing daily newspaper. One day a strange man, Yang Hongqi (Fan Wei), appears in his office and demands an article in praise of what he claims is an act of selfless heroism. Yang claims he spotted a naked woman being assaulted on the street one night, and chased away the assailant. But all is not quite right with Yang or his story. He’s a pudgy childlike man who speaks slowly, hesitantly, and seems a bit soft in the head. Reporter Gu cannot verify the story: the woman in question denies anything happened; there are no witnesses. But Yang’s determination pushes Gu onwards, and the more he finds out, the less he understands. There are mysteries within mysteries in this tale, and Gu begins to wonder if it’s he, and not oddball Mr. Yang who’s losing his grip on reality.
Huang Jianxin has recently taken to playing within genres, stretching and tweaking commercial film as if testing its boundaries. Here he constructs a smooth, glossy drama with elements of black comedy. Particularly striking are the scenes in Yang’s home village, where we meet his ancient bed-ridden father, A golden light surrounds this relic of Maoist humanitarianism, casting a shadow over the careerist journalists, cops and students who make up the film’s modern urban milieu.
One of China’s most popular comedians Fan Wei makes a fascinating would-be hero. Wang Zhiwen is as smooth and dependable as always. Chen Hao, as the young assault victim, puts over a multi-layered character whose secrets keep the film on edge, and Miao Pu as Gu’s policeman wife shows off her vibrant versatility. Technically top-notch, Kudos will keep you guessing right up to its final scene, which dares to pull the rug out from under everything you might think you’ve figured out.