It’s funny how money changes a situation. That could be the subtitle of writer/director Liu Jian’s new film “Have a Nice Day”. The Animated dark comedy uses the follow-the- money shtick to near perfection, introducing you to an array of low end criminals, both colorful and sadistic that might make you think you’re watching a Tarantino film. The catalyst that starts the money bag rolling is Zhang (voiced by Zhu Changlong). Zhang steals the money from his employer, crime boss Uncle Liu (Yang Shiming), to pay for his girlfriend’s second cosmetic surgery because the first one was botched. We never see the girlfriend but it must be true love since she needed surgery to begin with. Zhang is also willing to risk his life to fix what went wrong, which means she might find herself looking the way she did before the first operation, or worse.
Zhang, seemingly not too hip to robbery, is unaware that he’s drastically conspicuous with his new found riches. Smart enough to know he’s needs to hide out from Uncle Liu he decides to hide out in a sweet hotel. But his naivety gets him robbed before he ever gets a chance to stash the money. Robbed by Yellow Eyes (Cao Kou), a self proclaimed inventor, who’s contraptions include a pair of x ray glasses is one of the many ragtag criminals who gets their hands on the money. And while his dream is to invest in himself and become a well known inventor, each character who gets their hands shares their own small time aspirations to become something eh middle time. The animation has a way of delivering the desolate energy you’d find in a town like this and yet not depressing the viewer to point of wanting to disengage. Slow at times due to scenes like a bleak field of crops, that make you say hurry up already. On the surface that type of cinematography might feel like a fail but Liu Jian’s genius is evoking that feeling.
If you can feel just by watching, you can’t help but empathize with the amoral actions of the characters. They want out. This is what they see every day.
The dialogue is seasoned with philosophy, politics and world economics, instilling the notion that no matter how remote ones location might be, even with access to a little technology one is easily a citizen of the global world. “Have a Nice Day” does well at bringing you into a world that is both foreign and very familiar because of how it taps into the many facets of the human condition. Have a Nice Day.
written by: THE THIRD (The Review Board)
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