Q&A with Gao Peng

In the smoldering crucible of early ’90s Northeast China, Gao Peng’s A Long Shot takes aim at the human toll of breakneck economic reform. Gu Xuebing (Zu Feng, also starring in Brief History of a Family), a former professional sharpshooter who’s lost his edge (and his hearing), takes a gig as a factory security guard and finds himself in the middle of a scandal that’s about to blow the roof off the place. He’s also trying to keep Geng Xiaojun (Zhou Zhengjie), the rebellious son of his love interest, Xiao Jin (Qin Hailu), from going off the rails. Director Gao Peng’s feature debut is a slow-burn powder keg of a movie and a master class in blending social commentary with crime drama tropes, as he zeroes in on the human cost of China’s rapid-fire reforms. It’s a gritty, unflinching look at injustice and unrest, with performances that’ll leave you reeling and pondering the price of progress.