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The Taiwan Oyster

SXSW 2012 film review

The Taiwan Oyster

Director: Mark Jarrett | Screenwriters: Mark Jarrett, Jordan Heimer, Mitchell Jarrett Two Ex-Pat Kindergarten teachers in Taiwan embark on a quixotic odyssey to bury a fellow countryman. Cast: Billy Harvey, Jeff Palmiotti, Leonora Lim (World Premiere)

Film Synopsis (from SXSW.com)

WHO'S IT FOR?: If you like road movies with no direction, you'll enjoy The Taiwan Oyster. Don't bother checking this one out despite its nomination for the "Narrative Feature Competition."


The scariest nightmare of the SXSW Film experience is having your badge disappear into the hands of cruel bad luck. The second scariest is stumbling into a movie like The Taiwan Oyster with its misguided artistry, lackluster spirit, and heavy slices of overindulging hipster-dom. In essence, this movie features a long, boring shot of someone reading from Faulker (even though he was already quoted before the movie started).

While bright cinematography might influence some alluring thoughts of Taiwan's countryside, its editing, which drags this unwarranted sucker out for almost two hours, will only inspire journeys out the door. This road movie is sluggishly paced, with "pit stops" that hardly leave an effective side character or fulfilling moment for the audience. Outside of those who wish they could be burned out Americans teaching kids in Taiwan, this tale of instinctual dude-bros is an incredibly distant experience for a viewer.

I will not berate the bored cast for their lack of enthusiasm while working with such a hollow story, but it is unfortunate that no one is able to save the many bland scenes that rely on dialogue from ineffectiveness. The lead actor especially confuses quiet for dry, delivering his lines in a far too laid back fashion to keep us intrigued with whatever his journey of burying his dead friend really means, man.


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