A gangster film that throws several characters into an increasingly out-of-control situation reflecting the confusion of contemporary China, “All the Way” never gets a firm enough handle on its mission as a genre piece or social commentary to function fully on either level. Second feature from director Shi Runjiu has an affecting center concerning the awkward romantic feelings of a naive man for a criminally affiliated girl. But it clutters that core with inconsequential peripheral action and struggles to build momentum. A marginal festival profile appears likely.
Mixing violence, societal chaos and mild humor, the tale revolves around trusting driver Wang (Jiang Wu), who picks up cute hitchhiking hairdresser Molly (Karen Wong). The hapless innocent becomes embroiled in a robbery committed by the girl’s criminal lover and the lover’s subsequent pursuit by cops, with further complications added by mobsters and a pair of con men. Loose script never quite pulls together the unwieldy elements, but the relationship between Wang and Molly develops in interesting ways. Shunning the standard dark thriller look, the film is shot mostly in glaring daylight.