Reel Asian 2018: High Flash

A medical examiner performs his own investigation of an apparent self-immolation in High Flash. In the midst of a protest against the Tonglian Petrochemical company, a local fisherman named Ah-Hai (Yi-Fan Hsu) is found on board a burning boat, presumably having committed suicide by self-immolation. Medical examiner Chou (Kang Jen Wu) is assigned to work on the case by his former fiance Public Prosecutor Jin. Finding some inconsistencies in his autopsy, Chou decides to investigate the case further, attracting the attention of corrupt local businessmen and politicians.

High Flash is a very politically charged thriller taking place in a small fishing village in Taiwan. The fishermen in this town are frustrated by the pollution caused by the local petrochemical company and the new mayor seems willing to stand up to them. The fisherman Ah-Hai appears to have been a martyr to this cause, however it soon comes to pass that Tonglian’s influence on his village is deeper than it may appear.

High Flash is a typical environmentally charged political thriller that features everything from corrupt capitalists and politicians to conspiracies and cover-ups. The apparent self-immolation that sets the plot into motion is a major annoyance for those in power and the determination by Chou and Jin puts both in great danger. High Flash doesn’t really hide the type of film it is and there aren’t too many surprises, save for a shocking turn that happens in the third act. Still, the film is an OK enough thriller.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).