Set in the North of China, Director Xin Yukun’s compelling fable-like drama is a tale of mute character Zhang Baomin (played by Song Yang), a defiant miner who crosses paths with an immoral mobster. Chang (Jiang Wu) and corrupted, unethical lawyer Xu Wenjie (Yuen Wen Kang).
The film opens with a young boy building stones in an open landscape. Shortly after he disappears. What follows is Zhang’s search for his son, leaving no rock unturned, as he uses his fists to defend himself from Chang’s goons who are carrying out their boss’s dirty work to gain the land’s natural resources.
As the story progresses, we learn about Zhang’s past with his neighbours including a restaurant chef and that Zhang lost his tongue in a restaurant brawl. While searching for his son, Zhang uses his wits to outsmart Chang, who Zhang believes knows more than he is saying.
The film’s multi-layered plot makes this a film a relevant one, touching on themes of class, morals and the actions of the main characters carry out in a progressive China, a land of the have and the have-nots.
The main three actors are excellent, Song playing the anti-hero who uses his actions to make-up for not being able to speak, Jiang Wu (last seen in A Touch of Sin) is also very good as the power-hungry Chang as a proud animal hunter and as a man who take pride in wearing a hair-piece.