(KTSF by Sean Au)
Financial thriller “$upercapitalist”
An ambitious New York hedge fund trader, Conner (Derek Ting) is sent by his Wall Street boss to orchestrate a mega-deal. Surrounded by a new found wealth, can Conner hold on to his morals while swimming with sharks in the financial world?
The story is written by former CNN producer Derek Ting, who has witnessed the ruthlessness and ugliness in the industry during his seven years in Hong Kong. He was also intrigued by the politics that exits in a huge family businesses. “You have a different bond,” says Ting. “You can’t just say this person is a number. It’s not like straight decision making. There’s a relationship and those relationships have consequences. You can’t just fire someone.”
The story of “$upercapitalist” lacks twists and turns that makes the world of these men in suits exciting. There are some competent turns from the performers especially Hong Kong actors who get the chance to flex their acting chops in English. Beyond that, this tale that has been told many times before, can only offer a superficial look at the workings of the finance industry.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Video courtesy of Truly Indie.
Psychological Thriller “Compliance”
In what can be touted as the year’s most thought-provoking film, “Compliance” delivers a chill down the spines of many viewers.
“Compliance” tells a story that happened in the spring of 2004 in Mount Washington, Kentucky. The manager of a fast food restaurant Sandra (Ann Dowd) received a phone call from a man claiming to be a police officer (Pat Healy). The man told Sandra that he had received a report that a young woman serving at the counter had stolen money from the purse of a customer. The caller said he was not able to leave the police station as they are short staffed, and asked Sandra to help hold the suspect. Sandra called in Becky (Dreama Walker) to the employees’ room and started to interrogate her under the instructions of the caller. The interrogation turned into a strip search. Becky, while denying the charge, was also obeying the demands, not even realize that she had become a victim of a sexual assault.
“Compliance” asks the question about how far a person will go to obey someone he/she perceives to have authority over. Some, when given the authority, abuse their power, even believing that they are right. On the other end of the spectrum, certain criminals are able to get away with their actions because they take advantage of the ignorance of their victims. This leads me to think about the responsibility of the media to report on crimes and evendiscuss this movie because there is an ever present need to educate the public about such events that happened . This would hopefully make people aware and learn from the mistakes of others. Despite how difficult or uncomfortable one may feel, it is something that needs to be told and not swept under the carpet.
“Compliance” was first screened at Sundance and also at the San Francisco International Film Festival to extreme responses from the audience. Some walked out; some felt that the plot was just implausible. Yet, it is exactly for this reason, that makes the real incident all the more creepy and chilling.
Director Craig Zobel takes viewers into the claustrophobic space of the employees’ room where the entire story unfolded. Telling the story almost in real time gives the story time to slip the real life horror under our skins. Cast members give flawless performances so real that you feel like watching glossed up security camera footage. It is rare that a movie can create an effect like “Compliance.” It is not an easy watch, but an essential one no less.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Video courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
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