It’s not everyday we get to see Kuala Lumpur drenched in neon-lights ala Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, Drive and The Neon Demon.
With Shadowplay, a film directed by Tony Pietra Arjuna (other known works include Cuak and Devoted), we are getting a stylish fast-paced mystery-noir that centres around a private eye, Anton Shaw (Tony Eusoff) who is in search of a missing university student named Lamya (Juria Hartmans).
During his investigation, he must unravel the mysteries behind his own dark past as he journeys through the seedy underbelly of Kuala Lumpur. Conquered by the clues that will either lead him to Lamya or to his own death, Anton gambles with the grim reaper after growing more obsessed with the case.
As he delves deeper, becoming immersed to the point of no return, he begins to realise that there are fantastical elements that could change the fabric of his reality. From magical tomes, alternate realms and ’80s game books, Shadowplay is a unique take on the usual detective thriller. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the film is saturated with bright neon lights and electro-synth sounds for an edgy and modern feel.
To get a visceral idea of how your movie experience will be, listen to local artiste, ‘Stellar Dreams‘, whose synthwave soundtrack is the sonic pulse of the film.
Director, Tony Pietra Arjuna, described his latest work as Donnie Darko meets (I called it) Drive due to its amalgamation of metafiction and thriller elements. If you’re a Netflix fan (of course you are, ya little millennial), the director has even mentioned that Shadowplay is “the Malaysian missing link between the retro-80’s elements of Stranger Things and the concepts/themes of Dark on an indie shoestring!” Inspired by American pulp fiction, David Lynch and the power of feminine omnipresence, Shadowplay’s eclectic design is a step-forward for Malaysian cinema.
But enough talk, here’s the trailer to Shadowplay! Caution, the visuals might cause intense eyegasms.
Here are more pictures to get you excited:
“If life is a puppet theatre, then its shadowy projection is the dream. The screen is the veil between them and we exist on both sides. We often construct a shadow play of ourselves to be protected from what hurts us in the real world. If that pain lies in the past, nostalgia can somewhat dull or even heal it.”
– Tony Pietra Arjuna
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