Have A Nice Day (2018)
SHOULD I SEE IT?
Adult animation has a built-in audience and Liu Jian's film has the grit and grime of a tried-and-true violent suspense/thriller.
The film has a tone and atmosphere similar to a Tarantino or Scorsese film, with bleak settings, morally bankrupt characters, and flashes of humor creating a challenging backdrop for its story.
Unique and cleverly animated, Have a Nice Day is a film that cinephiles may appreciate and celebrate.
An R-rated animated film about mobsters, gangsters, hitmen, and thieves, subtitled, from China? Yeah, most of you just tuned out on this one.
There are not a lot of things you can latch onto as a viewer here - the spectacle, the characters, the storyline - not all that inviting to mainstream audiences.
Having watched it and even liking it enough to offer a positive review, I am not sure I can make a case why anyone needs to rush out and see it. Make of that what you will...
For his second animated film, Have a Nice Day, Chinese director Liu Jian has crafted a gritty, pulp-heavy world to plunge and comb through. A young man named Xiao Zhang (Zhu Changlong) turns on his construction co-worker and makes off with approximately $150,000 cash to pay for a trip to South Korea to repair a botched plastic surgery suffered by his girlfriend.
The owner of the cash is a mob boss, Uncle Liu (Yang Siming), who naturally wants his money back. And so, a laundry list of individuals are deployed to try and recover it, including girlfriends, family members, hitmen and a man who relies on X-ray glasses that do more than allow him to simply see through things.
Liu Jian’s film not only infuses violence, and some unexpected zigs and zags within his taut, efficient 75-minute screenplay, but he also refuses to compromise. The film is populated by bad people doing bad things to people living in shades of darkened grey. No one is trustworthy, at any moment someone may strike out, but in a curious, intriguing film, Have a Nice Day never loses a razor sharp edge it plays with in a loose and fast manner.
The movie’s animation style reflects anxiety through a bleak hue. Liu is never afraid to take the occasional stylish diversion or flourish, a little too willingly at times, and when the movie reaches its chaotic climax, some will scratch their heads and others will be pumping their fists.
Liu Jian also strikes a chord in how he represents an animated China. With characters exhibiting bad behavior and the film radiating an unsettled tone at times, we see a world populated by uncertainty and desperation.
Have a Nice Day is not for everyone - cold, bleak, intermittently brutal, with moments of dark humor spiked in to keep us on edge. With a stream of unlikable characters occupying our screen, perhaps the film's power rests with what we do not see, this invisible moral fog which circles around these characters, occupying space in a landscape where desperation thrives when all hope feels lost.
CAST & CREW
Starring the Voices of: Yang Siming, Cao Kou, Ma Xiaofeng, Zhu Changlong, Cao Kai, Zheng Yi.
Director: Liu Jian
Written by: Liu Jian
Release Date: January 26, 2018