The Man from Beijing

The Man from Beijing

On DVD: 
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Running Time: 
184 minutes

The Man from Beijing would be a far better movie at half the length.

They say:

A mass murder, a female judge and diary entries from ages ago judge Brigitta Roslin has to make a dangerous journey before she discovers the background of this crime. Police believe a madman was behind the brutal act. Not only Brigitta Roslin s parents are among the dead; almost all the victims were related to her. Brigitta soon becomes convinced that the police are on the wrong track, and she starts to investigate on her own. Her search for the murderer of her entire family leads Brigitta to China, where she is confronted with the gruesome machinations of a millionaire businessman.

I say:

This movie, actually a two-part mini-series for German TV, begins very strongly. The early scenes with the discovery of the bodies and the initial steps of the investigation are a great setup for what could be a great film. Sadly, the plot relies on the unfurling of a backstory surrounding the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad in the 1850s, and those scenes are terribly written and poorly acted, so simply and hackneyed that is ruins the mood established by the other elements. All these scenes with the chinese characters, both in the past and the present, only serve to establish them as cardboard cut outs, completely lacking depth - which only hurts the film as it goes on since it is supposed to be the depth of feeling and misguided sense of honor that is supposed to drive the titular Man from Beijing.

As I said with the first sentence of this review, a much shorter version of this could have been far more successful. At three hours in length, too much of the movie drags along, slowly revealing its secrets. At a faster pace, the tension would likely heighten, and certainly would keep viewers from falling asleep.

The Man from Beijing could be a great movie, but it falls short on too many fronts to really be worth the effort it takes watch it.

Review by Jason Pace
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