22 November 2004 | chinpeng
The camera-work in this film is unbelievable. I haven't seen many films from Vietnam but this one is undoubtedly the best. Cinematography is top notch. Some of the photography is mind-boggling. Xich lo is about a young bicycle taxi driver from a poor family who becomes involved in gang activities after his taxi is stolen and his options are limited. The 123 minutes of the film give time for good character development. The gang's lieutenant, Poet, is a ruthless criminal who rarely speaks and is troubled his bad childhood and a recurring nosebleed problem. Madame is the wise leader with a retarded son, Fishmouth. Every character in the story is human, each with their own problems. I am not familiar with the filmmakers' other works so I don't know if there are any political or social messages contained in this film, but one shot of a wealthy, clean development late in the film is shown in sharp contrast to the dirty and violent world that we see in the rest of the film.
My only criticism of this is the pace.. it dragged slightly at a few points, and these seemed to be included in the final cut for the poetry and songs contained in them. I give this film a 10 in the end. Highly recommended.