The Soul (Ji hun): Movie Review

"The Soul" time and time again caught us by surprised. It's revelations are endless and the two hour or so runtime is full to the brim with mystery, revelations, and intrigue. But there's also no denying that it was a little too slow at bouts and its convoluted plot and concepts will need second by second attention from its viewers to fully grasp and understand. 

Wang Shicong (Samuel Ku), one of the richest persons in Taiwan, is found bludgeoned to death. Wang's wife, Li Yen (Anke Sun) and their maid insist that he was murdered by his estranged son (Hui Min-lin) who is now missing. Prosecutor Liang (Chang Chen), needing money for his cancer treatment, volunteers to take on the peculiar case. As more evidence is uncovered day by day, the case isn't as simple as it seems. A mix of technology, mysticism, and familial secrets unravel the truth in Wang Shicong's murder. 

 Death, love, grief, and moving on. These are the key concepts that rule "The Soul". We really cannot expound further without spoiling its secrets but its a film that has its basic concept mostly in tune. Its concept is nothing ground-breaking (several films and shows already tackled it previously) but it has its own unique falvor against the backdrop of a more modern Taiwan. We especially liked how it was able to integrate traditional mysticism and modern takes on life after death seamlessly. "The Soul" is an experience that can be rewarding if you are able to give your full attention to it throughout its two hour runtime - but this can be a challenge in itself. Given its long running time, do expect it to be a slow burn but full of twists and turns. For us, this was the film's Achilles' heel as the minutes that do pile up doesn't easily prove their worth - not always. The narrative needed cleaning up to be more effective and the overtly-complicated plot and subplots felt unnecessary and stifling as the film finally unveiled everything it had to offer. Acting-wise, this was one of the film's strongest points especially for Cheng Chan who plays the film's lead character Prosecutor Liang. His journey through cancer was authentic and devastating and a key component why "The Soul" was surprisingly emotional. Overall, we enjoyed "The Soul" more than we expected it to be. It is rough around the edges but its core was solid and unique. Just be sure to watch it when you are able to invest your time and attention to it. Anything else will make this experience a complete waste. 

Rating: 4 reels

Why you should watch it:
- has an interesting concept that heightens up the intrigue and mystery
- provides great and emotional acting from its cast

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the two hour runnning time will require your full attention

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