STARRING Linus Roache, Kenneth Tsang, Derek Ting, Richard Ng, Michael Park, Kathy Uyen, Darren E. Scott DIRECTED BY Simon Yin SCREENPLAY Derek Ting MPAA RATING NR RUNNING TIME 96 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY Random Arts Workshop OFFICIAL WEBSITE
A financial thriller shot in Hong Kong, New York and Macau, $upercapitalist follows a young maverick hedge trader from New York who is sent to Hong Kong to orchestrate a megadeal that quickly spirals out of his control. The film is one of the first to delve inside the secretive world of Asian big business.
Connor (Derek Ting, Largo Winch) is the film's New York-based hedge trader with uncanny analytic abilities. He picks up that the Federal Reserve is about to make an unprecedented move and that sparks investor interest in China. Encouraged by his boss (Linus Roache, Law & Order), he heads to Hong Kong to orchestrate the hostile takeover of a large family owned operation headed by CEO Donald Chang (Richard Ng) and his older brother, Victor (Kenneth Tsang, Rush Hour 2).
$upercapitalist is as much a morality play as it is an examination of the world of big business. Connor is of the belief that if he pulls off this mega-deal, he'll earn millions and finally achieve the happiness he's so long desired. In Hong Kong, he's joined by Quentin Wong (Darren E. Scott, Man With The Iron First) in his efforts to take down the company, however, an encounter with Natalie (Kathy Uyen, How I Met Your Mother), a smart but differently focused PR director, teaches him that perhaps there's more to life and happiness that simply attaining wealth.
$upercapitalist opens in New York City on August 10th and in Los Angeles on August 31st, however, in further proof of the changing world of distribution the film will also be available through VOD outlets also beginning August 10th. The film was shot on a less than $1 million budget, and while it's set amidst the almost mind-numbing world of global economics, it's also set in the very personal world of one man's dreams and how those dreams change just as he's on the verge of obtaining everything he thought he'd ever wished for in life.
There's no denying the intelligence and authenticity of $upercapitalist, an intriguing and thought-provoking film that is hindered mainly by its occasionally paint-by-numbers dialogue and performances that more than occasionally come off as a wee bit wooden and devoid of anything resembling resonance. The film's most impressive performances are turned in by Linus Roache, in what amounts to a relatively brief role, and the gifted Kathy Uyen, who manages to give the film a tremendous lift at just the right time.
There's definitely a market for $upercapitalist, though I suspect the film will enjoy a much longer life in the home video market than it will in theatrical release. Recent Hollywood efforts to adequately address the economic crisis have proven to be artistically challenging and box-office poison, and it's difficult to imagine that this relatively straightforward thriller will add enough to the discussion to change that record.
The film may also prove to be more resonant for the growing Asian cinematic market, a market that will unquestionably identify more with its themes and corporate culture (though it's certainly not that removed from the U.S. corporate culture).
For more information on $upercapitalist, visit the film's website linked to in the credits on this page.