Review: ‘Do Over’

Convoluted time structures and sleek visuals are messily entangled in "Do Over," a self-consciously arty Taiwanese criss-crosser set on New Year's Eve. October local release reaped respectable B.O., and this effort may garner similar results across Chinese language territories.

Convoluted time structures and sleek visuals are messily entangled in “Do Over,” a self-consciously arty Taiwanese criss-crosser set on New Year’s Eve. Cheng Yu-chieh’s handsome-looking feature bow is a pallid “Magnolia” overlaid with MTV and advertising techniques to tell stories that are no more invigorating for being juggled around. Pic scored the grand prize at Taipei Film Festival and slots at major fests from Venice to Pusan suggest film’s travels will continue. October local release reaped respectable B.O., and this effort may garner similar results across Chinese language territories.

Overweight film set gopher Pang (Wang Ching-Guan) blocks traffic on a street so indecisive helmer Lixiang (Mo Tzu-Yi) can get a vital shot. When one vehicle goes past Pang, he holds up four gangster-brimming cars that had been in hot pursuit. Story strands gradually intersect to reveal the film’s producer’s gangland connections, but a vacuous road movie in the film’s center slows the momentum when the script needs to accelerate. Helming is flashy, but plodding script is riddled with self-hating moments, including a climactic burning of the fictional helmer’s film. Jake Pollack’s lensing is slick and tech credits are decidedly pro.

Do Over

Taiwan

Production

A Top Film Corp. production. (International sales: Top Film Corp., Taipei, Taiwan.) Produced by Liang Hung-chih, Lee Su-ching. Executive producers, Cheng She-ping, Liang Hung-chih. Directed, written by Cheng Yu-chieh.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Jake Pollack; editors, Chen Po-wen, Liu Chuen-hsiou; music, Lim Giong; production designer, Lee Tien-chue. Reviewed at Tokyo Film Festival (Winds of Asia), Oct. 26, 2006. (Also in Taipei, Venice, Vancouver, Pusan film festivals.) Mandarin dialogue. Running time: 113 MIN.

With

Tuo Zong-hua, Wang Ching-guan, Shu An-an, Huang Cien-wei, Ko Chia-yen, Ko Yu-luen, Mo Tzu-yi.
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