Movie review: The Drummer

movie poster for The Drummer

A while back I wrote about The Drummer (戰鼓), a Hong Kong – Taiwan co-production featuring Taiwan's U-Theatre (優人神鼓) Zen drumming group. It was released in Taiwan yesterday and I went to see it today.

The first part of the film is set in Hong Kong. It is here that Sid, played by Jaycee Chan (房祖名), gets in trouble with a triad boss and flees to Taiwan. Here is drawn by the sound of drumming in the mountains. He discovers U-Theatre and begins training with him. The personal transformation he undergoes is contrasted with the troubles with his family back in Hong Kong, particularly the difficult relationship with his father, played by Tony Leung Ka Fai (梁家輝)

Taidong was used as the location for the film in Taiwan, even though U-Theatre's actual training area is in the hills south of Taipei. One of the most interesting things about the film is the chance to appreciate U-Theatre, not just for their drumming performances, but for the rigorous training that they do. Their work is very much rooted in an almost monastic discipline and Buddhist world view. Most of the members of U-Theatre appear in the film as themselves with just the part of Hong Dou, played by actor Angelica Lee (李心潔)

The beautiful mountain scenery and drumming were the highlight of the film. The part set in Hong Kong was a bit weaker, but overall it was very enjoyable.  

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2 thoughts on “Movie review: The Drummer

  1. Pingback: U-Theatre 20th anniversary concert - Sound of the Ocean - Taiwan - David on Formosa

  2. Very enjoyable movie with some great drumming, music for the soul. Some of the western audience applauded at the end of the film.

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