Perhaps a more appropriate title for the Taiwanese film The Great Buddha + would be The Great Exposition, because I do not believe there were any interesting lines or scenes in this film which were not completely ruined by horrifically tone-deaf exposition. This film makes usage of an omniscient narrator (who arrogantly identifies himself as the director and writer of the film), which would normally be Fine in any other film, but the way it functions within The Great Buddha + is so infuriatingly ruinous to the film’s plot that it is left picked of all the meat that would make it interesting, much like a corpse after it has been pecked apart by vultures.
Before I go into any further detail about how much I disliked the experience of viewing this film, it is only fair that I state what I did like about the film. The cinematography was generally interesting, and there was ONE instance of the self-aware nature of the film being used in a clever manner. There, that’s it. Now, where were we?
The film is made almost entirely in black and white, and it would have been interesting to think about why this was the case, but in more than one scene, the narrator and the characters make light of this creative choice and explain it away, as if to insult the audience by saying we are too stupid to figure such things out for ourselves. I am absolutely astounded by the director’s lack of awareness towards the audience.
Oh, wait, I forgot. There was one other thing that I wanted to commend this film for, and that was how it made me feel as I was watching it. Never while viewing a film have I felt as lifeless and bored as the characters onscreen. That is, until now. This is perhaps the most profoundly boring foreign film I have ever seen. Whenever the Screenplay takes our characters to an interesting circumstance, the opportunity is too quickly squandered at the expense of another arrogant monologue from our “humble” narrator. Never, under any circumstances, watch The Great Buddha +, unless under the following circumstances: you wish to lose the last ounce of hope you have for Asian cinema, or you need that one last push over the edge to commit suicide.