Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Title Says It All

Zen Noir (2016) is a very silly movie, and not very long. It may be very deep, I wouldn't know. But I'm glad Netflix suggested it.

It starts with a detective. We know he's a detective, because he wears a hat. The gun and bottle of booze on the table are also clues. His phone rings and someone says, "Get to the temple. Someone is going to die." When he finally finds the Zen temple, he busts in on three monks meditating, and one corpse. "Don't anybody move!"

So, if you think a guy with a gun telling a group of people meditating, "Don't move!" is funny, then you'll like this movie.

The temple is pretty small: dead Chinese guy, young Caucasian man, cute (bald) dame, and old wise man (Kim Chan) - maybe wise guy is closer, because every time the detective asks him a question, he pulls out an orange. In fact, oranges are a theme in this movie. We see repeated close-ups of an orange burning, or being chopped up.

There are also almost no sets - the detectives room, one or two nondescript rooms at the temple, a few flashbacks of Malibu. Only five characters. The movie is 71 minutes long, and a lot of that is burning orange padding. Still, it has jokes and koans, a mystery that is solved, and even the orange thing pays off.

Ok, maybe some of the laughs are cheap (sexy bald dame isn't a monk, she's a layperson. That's a person who can get laid). And I don't think anyone will be enlightened watching this. Mostly, it's a cute story for an audience of (mainly) American students of Zen - like us! So we liked it. We give thanks to writer/director Marc Rosenbush who made this sucker on a shoestring and a mantra. It's Zen and it's Noir.

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