Animal World (2018)
January 29, 2019 9:35 AM - Subscribe

A mentally ill clown is lured into a life-or-death rock-paper-scissors tournament by the chance to clear his debts. No, seriously: that is the plot. A Mandarin language adaptation of a Japanese manga. Directed by Yan Han (Go Away, Mr. Tumor) and starring Yi Feng Li, Dongyu Zhou, and Michael Douglas.
posted by DirtyOldTown (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The visual style here is soooooo over the top. It draws from the kinetic, swooping, "bullet time" style the Wachowskis used on The Matrix, but amplifies and exaggerates it to the point of absurdity, where the camera almost becomes a character, like Jeunet & Caro's style in Delicatessen or The City of Lost Children.

The underlying story is a lot less textured and interesting than any of those films, though. It's like a goofy version of Battle Royale or Hunger Games.

The lunatic frenetic style carries it a long way though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:57 AM on January 29, 2019

If you can get past how silly the premise is and if you can work with how noisy the style is, it eventually settles down into a fairly compelling game theory piece.

This is a classic DOT recommend, because I'm recommending it based on how strong several of the parts are, even as I'm the first to point out, the whole adds up to less than the sum of those parts.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:33 AM on January 29, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed this, the visual style and pacing and the plot twists made it a lot of fun. It was a fantastic film to watch with my teenagers, not that much gore considering, and we are hoping there will be a sequel.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 2:17 PM on January 29, 2019

Oh I watched this when I was going for a long run and thought it was pretty fucking terrible, when the treadmill stopped so did this movie!

The first forty minutes are borderline incoherent, and then the last - I want to say hour and a half? - was too slow. I found the characters both thin and also quite unattractive. The n ew r total absence of women was also very very off-putting.

I know what you mean though, I stuck with it because I always felt it was close to being not shit, a kind of Chinese guy Ritchie style thing. But it never got there. Direction was okay in a kind of slapdash way but the script was too rubbish.
posted by smoke at 9:25 PM on January 29, 2019

I remember watching this and be somewhat entertained. The looooooong game theory part was not engaging to me and I would have been much happier without each and every part of that being visualized for the audience.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:19 AM on January 31, 2019

I liked it, and watched it after reading this post. The one disappointing point, for me, was that for some reason I thought the movie would take place in like the Shakes the Clown universe. Of course that makes no sense now that I think about it, but.

Also I wonder what kind of payday Michael Douglas got for this.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:30 PM on February 2, 2019

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