Given the events of the last few years, the future doesn’t exactly look rosy. The global political climate seems to go from bad to worse whilst we seem hell-bent on destroying the environment before lunch. Over the past couple of decades, China has been rapidly catching up with the rest of the developed world. Along with huge technological in industrial progress, they appear to have also acquired our ennui and cynicism. Jian Liu’s impressive new film, Have A Nice Day, riffs off this sense of this social and physical decay.
Xiao Zhang (Changlong Zhu) works as a truck driver in a small town in Southern China. When his girlfriend’s plastic surgery goes horribly awry, he steels a bagful of cash from his boss Lao Zhou (Kai Cao) in order to take her to Korea to correct the damage. A hitman (Xiaofeng Ma) is dispatched to recover the money, but when word of the theft gets out on the street, it seems like everyone is on the lookout for Xiao Zhang.
Have A Nice Day is a beautifully animated and unflinchingly downbeat portrait of decay in modern China. It’s amusing in its absurdity. Whilst juggling several intertwining story arcs, Jian Liu finds the time for several surreal intermissions. The violence is swift and brutal and the comedy is black as night. Parallels have been made with Pulp Fiction, but whilst there are some thematic similarities it really is a unique piece of cinema in its own right.
Have A Nice Day opens in cinemas on 23 March.