The latest by Huang Hsin-Yao follows a security guard and his best friend who become entangled in a web of dark secrets after stumbling upon videos that document the promiscuous meetings of a wealthy factory owner. The most anticipated Taiwanese film of the year is an extension of Huang Hsin-Yao’s 2014 award-winning short, The Great Buddha. (The + in the feature’s title was satirically added by the director as a reference to corporate naming trends.) Pickle (Cres Chuang), a night security guard at a bronze statue factory, and Belly Button (Bamboo Chen), a recyclables collector, are best friends. While trying to kill time on the long nights spent in the security room, Belly Button suggests that they view the dash-camera footage of Pickle’s rich boss, Kevin (Leon Dai). Watching the promiscuous meetings Kevin has with various women, they witness something they never should have known about. Peppered with dry humour, this darkly comic misadventure is told in a style all Huang’s own. The Great Buddha+ is shot in black and white, the only exception being the dash-cam recordings. These images are like wormholes, taking Pickle, Belly Button, and the viewer from one universe into another, from the colourless existence of the poor and forgotten to the illuminated world of the powerful. Highly stylized and full of humour, The Great Buddha+ is one of a kind. It might not be your usual cup of tea, but that’s only because you haven’t tried it yet.
Cres Chuang, Bamboo Chu-Sheng Chen, Leon Dai
Runtime: 102 min