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DVD Review: Artsploitation Films’ Sheep Without A Shepherd (Kino Lorber)

Sheep without a Shepherd

One of the best films of 2020, Sheep without a Shepherd makes it’s homevideo debut thanks to Artsploitation Films.

The Film

Sheep Without a Sheperd is the kind of film that is labeled Hitchcockian and deserves every bit of that praise.  The Debut feature from Sam Quah is the kind of Thriller that is not only timely but engrossing, engaging, and most of all highly satisfying.

Li (Xiao Yang) is a family man with a loving wife Ayu (Tan Zhuo) and two young daughters Pingping (Audrey Hui) and An-an (Zhang Xiran).  Li’s only real vice is his unbridled love of films.  The man wants for nothing, save for the best for his family.  This is why Li against his better judgment allows Pingping to attend a Summer Camp for overachievers.  Li and the family’s worst fears are realized when Pingping is assaulted at the camp.  To add insult to an already terrible situation the guy Suchat (Bian Tian Yang), whose mother is the new Police Chief (Joan Chen) and Father is an influential Politician (Phillip Keung Ho-Man), videos everything with his phone and attempts to blackmail Pingping.  Through an act of self-defense, Suchat is killed.  Li doing the only thing he knows is right hides Suchat’s body and concocts an alibi for the entire family using his knowledge of films he has seen over the years.  A battle of wills begins between the Chief and Li’s family…

Sheep Without a Sheperd is the kind of amazing incendiary thriller that we rarely get nowadays.  Yes, we have all heard the credo, “they don’t make them like this anymore” but in this case it is true.  Writer/Director Quah’s debut feature has all the earmarks of a classic.  Tightly constructed, emotionally resonant, tensely plotted, smartly conceived, and the right amount of social relevance.  By constructing the film around a family and never straying far from Li and the family the film creates a unique thriller where there is not just one life at stake but many.

Though many will think I have ruined most of the film’s plot the above description only covers a third of this densely packed narrative.  Though one of the astounding aspects of the film is how clearly everything plays out for something so complex.  Many have lauded Hitchcock for his thrills, but the director never gets enough credit for the clarity of story in his films.  Director Quah is as much a disciple if not an equal with his debut film.  There is never a moment in Sheep Without a Sheperd that is illogical or unclear.  It is as perfectly realized a thriller as anything that has been released in recent memory.

It is its final message that transcends the genre.  One that should be revealed by the film and not a review.  Sheep Without a Sheperd finds a way to give an audience an emotionally satisfying end unique wrap up original unto itself. 

The Extras 

  • Trailers

Included in the release are trailers for Sheep without a Sheperd (1:32), Beasts Clawing at Straws (1:29), Happy Times (1:49), Benjamin (2:13) and The Prince (1:47)

The Final Thought 

Sheep without a Shepherd was one of the best films of 2020.  Highest Possible recommendations! 

Artsploitation Film’s DVD of Sheep without a Shepherd is out May 25th

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