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Chinese language cinema

Film review: Cherry Returns – Cherry Ngan plays kidnap victim in nonsensical psycho-thriller

This abysmally directed Chris Chow film is remarkably underwhelming; an early contender for worst movie of 2017, its opening moments are implausible and what follows still more baffling and nonsensical

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 2:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 2:55pm

0.5/5 stars

Making an early bid for worst film of 2017, Chris Chow’s (Strawberry Cliff) remarkably underwhelming psycho-thriller stars Cherry Ngan as a kidnap victim reunited with her wealthy family after 12 years in captivity. Lazily plotted and abysmally directed, Cherry Returns challenges plausibility from its opening moments, only to plummet further into relentlessly baffling nonsense.

In Los Angeles, a police raid on a crack den finds a young Chinese woman, who turns out to the missing daughter of a Hong Kong businessman (Chen Kuan-tai), presumed dead for the past decade. Reunited with her family, Cherry (Ngan) refuses to speak and struggles to recall her past. This is particularly tough on older sister Jing (Song Jia), who has channelled her years of jealousy and guilt over the incident into becoming a child psychologist.

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As inspector Deng (Gordon Lam Ka-tung) attempts to piece together the mystery surrounding Cherry’s abduction, suspicion falls on everyone, from her extended family to domestic staff. Then a mysterious hooded figure (Hu Ge) appears to be on the prowl, and suspects start turning up dead.

With little understanding of police procedure, child psychology or even how real people communicate with one another in real life, Cherry Returns stumbles from one deeply implausible contrivance to the next in its efforts to create mystery and suspense.

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Each inexplicable twist only adds to the growing confusion, while character motivations become so incomprehensible that none of the cast is able to produce anything approaching a believable performance. The whiff of a potential romance between Jing and Deng is soon ignored, while the film’s final revelation will surprise nobody who’s been paying the slightest bit of attention.

Cherry Returns opens on January 12

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