SOLD Review: Jennifer Li Runs, Hides And Fights In Her Brutal New Directorial Short Debut
Tautly, carefully-crafted fourteen minutes of near non-stop, intense action and drama ensue in Jennifer Li’s directorial debut, Sold.
A stunt performer by trade, Li’s inaugural filmmaking feat which recently had its Graduation screening, is the result of time well spent at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Li takes the mantle here with Sold, wearing multiple hats behind the lens, including that of actor for the film’s perilously inclement three-day shoot.
For this, we get the story of Ming (Jennifer Li) woman who volunteers to deliver money to pick up a camera for her dear friend, Kiki (Leifennie). Her trip finds her at a remote farm whose seemingly affable sole occupant named James (Kyle Toy) finagles her into coming into his questionable abode, and the result is as terrible as you would expect.
What you don’t see coming is the “why?” of it all, but that comes about a few minutes after Sold takes off with a chase that sees Ming doing her best to run as fast as she can, on a farm with very few places to hide with the odds stacked against her four-to-one. And that’s really all she can do until she can bring the odds to her favor. She runs, and hides, and when cornered, she fights like hell.
What remains to be seen is the fallout from this harrowing incident, regardless of whether she makes it out alive. As I stated in my preview piece prior to screening, I’m keen on leaving out the biggest turning point for later when Li and her team finally reveal to the world her shortform kidnapping thriller, but there’s a bittersweet air in the film’s final moments that really harnesses Li’s strengths as a nascent filmmaker, writing complex characters, and weaving together gripping drama, and with kinetic action sequences (here brought forth by website favorite, Brendon Huor) that pulls you along, right through to an almost omnious conclusion.
The ending certainly gives rise to conversations here about what consequences await following the major twist that happens, as Sold, at its core, is a story of how far one will really go for a friend regardless of the circumstances. It’s a harrowing ride with a final shot that brings chilling introspection and uncertainty for our two core characters, and that’s about all I can divulge with the details without pushing my luck here.
As to when the shortfilm gets released publicly is beyond my knowledge at this point, so be sure you’re bookmarking my site to your browser and subbing to us via Instagram and/or Telegram.
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Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
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