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Parents' Guide to

Cities of Last Things

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Sex, violence, suicide in thoughtful noir drama.

Movie NR 2019 107 minutes
Cities of Last Things Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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This film is a fascinating, surprising, and often beautiful (in spite of the shocking violence) character study of the traumatic events in one man's life. These traumatic events, told in three acts of reverse chronology, with a brief epilogue, shape, uplift, knock down, then ultimately break this man. We meet Dong-ling Zhang at the end of his life, and try to make sense of his violent tendencies, his jealousies and resentments, his loneliness and hallucinations. As his past his revealed in subsequent acts, we begin to understand how he turned out the way he did, even if we're left to wonder if the man's complexities and predilection for violent behavior is entirely the result of these events.

Cities of Last Things is an excellent movie, but not perfect. There are moments, like the film's opening scene, that feel more than a little heavy-handed and gratuitous. Despite these moments, the movie on the whole strikes an incredible balance between beautiful cinematography and the ugliness of these terrible life moments. The acting is fantastic across the board. It's one of those movies that leaves you thinking about it for days after, about what it's saying about human nature, fate, environment, upbringing, and personal choices, right and wrong.

Movie Details

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