The Bold, The Corrupt, and The Beautiful

Contemporary World Cinema | 2017 | 112 minutes

Stranger Says:

A powerful matriarch’s attempt to strengthen her family’s land holdings leads to murder, PSA-worthy drug freak-outs, and enough double-crosses to keep crime podcasts in business for decades. Few movies could ever live up to the gloriously purple rush of that title, but this not-especially-coherent melodrama gives it a genuine go, shamelessly whomping together icy female mob bosses, sordid romances, and even the occasional musical number. Toss in a pair of elderly Lynchian narrators and a dog named Little Moron, and you’ve got… well, whatever the hell it is, it’s certainly never boring.

SIFF Says:

Winner of the 2017 Golden Horse Award for Best Picture, THE BOLD, THE CORRUPT, AND THE BEAUTIFUL is a delicious story of corruption, double-crosses, and depraved family secrets. Legendary actress Kara Wai stars as Madame Tang, a leader of a Taiwanese syndicate who brokers illegal land speculation deals between politicians and deep-pocketed businessmen. Seemingly lost in the hubbub are her two daughters: adult-aged Ning (Wu Ke-Xi), who is notorious for her hard-partying, hard-drinking ways, and 14-year-old Chen-Chen (Vicky Chen), who can do little but observe her mother’s shady dealings and hope to stay emotionally grounded amid this high-stakes world. Things seem to be going well for the all-female clan, but when a councilman and his family are found massacred the day after one of her dinner parties, Madame Tang’s criminal enterprise threatens to implode spectacularly. With police detectives on their tail and several high-profile clients wondering what happened to a spectacularly large sum of money that has gone missing, how far will this family go to hold it all together? A female-driven Taiwanese crime melodrama as twisted as it is cautionary—the film is framed as an allegory of greed and karma, narrated by two Lynchian musicians who cackle at the machinations of our lead characters—this is an audacious, ruthless bit of manipulation.

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Film Credits
YANG Ya-che
Kara WAI, WU Ke-Xi, Vicky CHEN
SIFF 2018