With a story revolving around a powerful political figure and his offspring being put on trial, multiple testimonies being overturned at the stand and courtroom proceedings spiraling into a poisonous expose of trysts and sexual misdeeds, Silent Witness somehow mirrors the very high-profile trials in China of, first, former Politburo member Bo Xilai (who was arrested and indicted for corruption, among other charges) and then Li Tianyi (the son of a top-ranking general and one of five men charged and tried for gang-raping a young woman). Such proximity to actual events unfolding in the country probably plays a part in the film’s steady progress at the local box office -- its daily gross since opening on Friday was beaten only by the 3-D Smurfs sequel -- and director Fei Xing’s experiment with nonlinear multi-perspective storytelling has certainly offered something new in a country where courtroom dramas are rare and mostly driven by state-sanctioned ideology.
Director: Xing Fei
Writer: Xing Fei
Stars: Sicheng Chen, Jiajia Deng, Aaron Kwok