Old Stone

(Lao shi)
Canada/China 2016. Dir: Johnny Ma. 80 min. DCP

“A remarkably mature debut ... Spine-chilling.”
MAGGIE LEE, VARIETY

Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Johnny Ma’s blistering debut feature, recipient of the Best Canadian First Feature award at TIFF this year, is a pulse-pounding, genre-morphing drama/thriller that exposes the mechanisms of indifference at the root of China’s appalling “hit and run” epidemic. Lao Shi (fantastic Chen Gang) is a taxi driver who inadvertently strikes a motorcyclist; panicked and unsure when or if the authorities will arrive, he rushes the victim to the hospital, saving his life. But Lao Shi discovers that his act of moral integrity comes at a ruinous cost: he’s now liable for the fast-amassing medical bills of the comatose patient. Upbraided for not observing protocol — which would have resulted in the motorcyclist’s death and a one-time fine — the cabbie, slipping into madness, decides to make things “right.” Ma deftly handles the material with resolve and formal invention, swapping gritty, social realism with slick, noir panache when shit hits the fan. A debut to be admired.


VIOLENCE; COARSE LANGUAGE
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“Gripping ... A refreshing and solid debut.”

Hollywood Reporter | full review