The familiar story of a new recruit rising through the ranks of organized crime is given a punchy female Asian twist in “Snakehead
.” , this first narrative feature by documentary maker Evan Jackson Leong
(“Linsanity”) is highlighted by outstanding performances by Shuya Chang
as the fearless newbie and Jade Wu
as the matriarch of a family specializing in the nasty business of human smuggling. Though it switches tone abrasively at times, and some story aspects feel a little too formulaic, “Snakehead
” burns brightly when focused on the Faustian relationship of its formidable female characters. The future looks promising for Leong’s long-gestating labor of love, which opens in theaters and online on Oct. 29 following its major launch at Toronto.
” opens with a sobering statement about the scale of illegal immigration and how human traffickers known as Snakeheads charge $50,000 for passage to the U.S. The first words we hear are