Beijing Bicycle (2001)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2008-05-13
Summary: Emotional and well acted film...
In Beijing Bicycle, Guei (Cui Lin), a young man from the countryside, takes a job as a bike messenger in Beijing. Given a brand new mountain bike and a uniform, he takes to his job quickly, even though some of the customs of the city are alien to him. Unfortunately, while leaving his bicycle unattended for a delivery which takes much longer than anticipated, he is the victim of theft. The story switches to follow Jian (Li Bin), a schoolboy whose past time is riding bikes and doing tricks with his friends. It becomes obvious that it is Jian who has stolen Guei's bike, in order to ride with and fit in with his group better. As luck has it, a friend of Guei's spots his bike and tips him to its location. So beings a back and forth struggle between the two boys for possession of the bicycle, both of whom are willing to do anything to get it back.
Beijing Bicycle is actually quite a deep movie, revealing the hidden personal struggles for its characters, particularly the problems for a person from the countryside of China to adapt to Beijing and the pressures that friends and fitting in puts on adolescents, no matter what the culture or country. The film is also excellent because you end up feeling so frustrated for Guei. Just trying to work hard, he is pushed around and taken advantage of throughout, getting pulled into situations that he has no reason to be involved in and for the most part getting the worst of it everytime. He ends up getting the lion's share of the sympathy. Both the leads are quite good, and although there is not much dialogue, what there is is certainly not wasted. Both actors let their raw emotions loose, drawing you into their characters. The film also marks the debut of prominent actress Gao Yuan Yuan, who went on to have a significant roles in Jackie Chan's Rob-B-Hood and the upcoming Nanking! Nanking! Although there are some subplots (especially one involving actress Zhou Xun) that could have been left out entirely, the film is an overall success.

Reviewer Score: 9