Note: The following post contains no significant advances of the plot or the end of the film.
The American director Daniel Hsia writes and directs the romantic comedy Shanghai Calling, is the first feature film of Hsia who so far had directed short films and written for american television programs such as Psych and Four Kings. The film tells the story of Sam an ambitious lawyer who works for a north american law firm and that is about to become a partner, however, when he’s just a step away from his long-awaited promotion, his bosses decide send him to Shanghai to deal with a multimillionaire patent case ensuring that he’s the most indicated to do it by his chinese ancestry. The reluctant Sam must travel to Shanghai where he discovers the reality of americans as immigrants and other situations that may change his way of seeing life.
Shanghai Calling is a light comedy, has no transcendental content, but is quite nice, the story is unusual for a romantic comedy and is easy to accept it. The film shows a rare plot: the immigration of americans with the plus that the immigrant is actually a native-foreign. Another highlight point within the story goes by account of cultural clashes and the confusion given by the presumptions over the stereotypes present in some cultures. It’s a very fresh story, part of it goes in the visual aids such as drawings and oversized frames of imagination that obviously cooperates in providing good humor.
The film has a beautiful photography: shows several points of a Shanghai that shines behind the lens and that seeks to maintain the city as another actor leaving out the tourist squib sensation, in this aspect it should be noted the use of filters as a differentiating marker within the plot: cold tones when Sam is in his work and warm when his out of it. Armando Salas is in charge of the cinematographic aspects of this film.
When we speak of acting we can’t tell that here are high impact performances, but, in general are good and for a light story are very nice: Daniel Henney is not afraid of be a protagonist, he does quite well his role and knows how to give the turn to the nature of his character in a convincing manner. Eliza Coupe is not profiled as a lead figure, she needs to be more emotive, although is evident that she had prepared her role. Local cast as Zhu Zhu and Geng Le brings life to the story and as support actors are essential for the performance of the protagonists.
In 2012 Shanghai Calling won the award for Best Writer in the Shanghai International Film Festival and the award for Best New Director/Outstanding First Feature in Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, also Daniel Henney won Outstanding Achievement in Acting in Newport Beach Film Festival.
Zerorojo recommends it! is a gentle, humorous and entertaining film. It is not tacky, and, in spite of being so light it can provide a message, as well as the poet Jean de La Fontaine expressed: “A person oftens meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it “.