Directed by Hu Bo (China, 2018, 230 min). Digital.
Under the gloomy sky of a small town in northern China, protagonists’ lives intertwine in this furious tale of nihilistic rage. While protecting his friend from a dangerous school bully, 16-year-old Wei Bu pushes the tormentor down a staircase. Wei escapes the scene and later learns that the bully is hospitalized and gravely injured. Wei’s neighbor, 60-year-old Wang Jin, is estranged from his family and, with nothing to lose, decides to join Wei on the run. Later the pair meets Wei’s classmate, Huang Ling, who is bedeviled by a destructive affair with a married school official. This unlikely and desperate trio decide their only hope is to flee as the bully’s gangster brother, his enraged parents, and vindictive school authorities all go on a cold-blooded, crosstown hunt for Wei. As Wei threads his way through the urban wilderness, he begins to come to terms with his own doomed life. In the end, he boards a long-distance bus with Huang and Wang toward a city in Manchuria, where a circus elephant is rumored to be sitting still, seemingly oblivious to the pain and tribulations of the world at large.