When I first read the premise, it reminded me a lot of the film My Life as a Dog - a coming of age Swedish film. Indeed both films do touch on innocence and childhood, I think Hou does more to retain that innocence. As the children embarks on their adventures in the countryside, they face a mixture of harmless and dangerous situations. While they do grow, the fundamental nature remains unchanged - they are still kind, optimistic children. And this optimism is less prevalant in Hou's later films, but here it makes it a light and nostalgic watch.
It's confounding. It's thought-provoking. It's unexpected. All the things a good documentary should be.
Makes you think about what art is; where do you draw the line between creativity and delusion? What makes art?
The documentary in itself is nothing like what I've watched before. It takes your preconceived notions and flips it on your head. Extraordinary.
I'm still blown away, speechless really.
"I think the joke is on... I don’t know who the joke is on, really. I don’t even know if there is a joke."
Ryan Gosling gives a layered performance in a role that hints at the potential he showed fully in Drive. Doing so much with so little, Gosling lays bare the empty life of a drug addict struggling to get by. Shareeka Epps matches him brilliantly as the guarded young girl who won't take no for an answer. Unwittingly discovering Gosling's character Dan Dunne's secret, she ends up being the one holding him up, rather than the other way around. Their chemistry…