North American Premiere
Q&A with director Fei Xing
With a script that doesn’t loosen its grip in its entire two hours, a big-name cast at the top of its game (especially Sun Honglei and Yu Nan), and an atmospheric production package that’s all in service of the drama, Silent Witness is superb, mesmerizing entertainment. The film opens with the trial of a millionaire’s daughter for the murder of her future stepmother, pulls its first big surprise in a powerful courtroom scene early on, and then builds layer upon layer of previously hidden information, and ultimately the tale is elevated into one of Chinese myth and personal redemption. It’s the ensemble of performances that helps give real dramatic heft to what otherwise might just have been just a well-written, cleverly constructed genre movie, full of the usual coincidences, moments of sudden revelation, and sequences of engineered suspense. Most remarkably, in a genre that U.S. cinema has made its own, Silent Witness has a totally Chinese feel in its emotions, pacing, and underlying philosophy.