Movie Review-Hunt Down

Hunt Down/ Chang An Dao revolves around the investigation of a project called the ‘Tomb Nine.’ The plot is ordinarily portrayed with a blend of thrilling suspense, conflicting roles, double identity, and a loose relationship between a father and a daughter. The first half of the movie keeps us in an alluring dark with its unevenly executed back-and-forth narration.

review by n. girija

The movie is an adaptation of a novel (loosely translated as Changan Theft) written by a Chinese novelist Hai Yan. The novel is inspired by the recovery of a stolen coffin in 2010 sold abroad to an antique dealer in the United States by tomb raiders led by Yang Bin in 2005 in Xi’an from the tomb of Wu Huifei, a royal concubine during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).

Zhao Hongyu in disguise of a notorious punk reunites with her estranged father and a Professor of history, Wan Zhenggang who left Hongyu and her mother in search of recognition and to marry an ambitious woman, Lin Baiyu with whom he could earn fame. Hongyu, in actuality, was a police officer at the narcotics division brought to the art and relics division because of her connection with Lin Baiyu. She was assigned to keep an eye on Lin Baiyu and Lin Tao. Nevertheless, Hongyu was suspicious of her father, Prof. Wan to which her partner in the case and her probation officer in disguise, officer Shao dismissed stating to not bring personal matters into the professional realm.

The conflicting character of the unsuspecting Prof. Wan is remarkable. Prof. Wan is sandwiched between his second wife and daughter who never got along with each other. It appeared to the viewers that Prof. Wan was a man of value who betrayed his covetous wife as he sides with the police into the investigation of the tomb. The movie also attempts to deliver the dilemma of a father-daughter relationship. The appalling look on Hongyu’s face when officer Shao took the suspicion on Prof. Wan reflects Hongyu’s attachment towards her father.  

The movie has its own share of loopholes owing to its vague narration, unrealistic illustration inside the tomb and the scanning of relics to identify its originality puts one in an enigma. Nevertheless, the presentation of the significance of ancient artefacts to an extent of an officer sacrificing their life in pursuit of obtaining the lost relics outweighs the flaws. Besides, the startling plot twist towards the end of the movie adds value overall and the fact that the movie is based on a real life event grips the viewer’s curiosity. Hopefully and patiently, awaiting for an English translation of the Hai Yan novel from which the movie was adapted. 

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