Whoever said that an innocent man has nothing to fear needs a reality check. The idea of justice being fair is not a fact, it’s a roll of the dice. Odds will stack up against you even more the less money you make and the less social standing you have, and even further if the people that are enforcing that justice have a bias against you. However, in this feature film it does pay to be wise and cunning even in the face of impossible odds.

(Source: Fantasia Film Festival)

Sheep Without a Shepherd was written and directed by Sam Quah. Li Weijie (Yang Xiao) is a movie fanatic much beloved by his friends but despised by one of the local cops. When his daughter Ping Ping (Audrey Hui) is molested and later blackmailed by a rich kid, she and her mother A Yu (Zhuo Tan) end up killing him. But the rich kid was a son of the local aspiring candidate and, even worse, her mother is none other than the ruthless and intelligent Police Chief (Joan Chen). Now Li must use every single trick he’s learned from watching films to stay two steps ahead and keep his family from the long arm of the law.

This one is a carefully crafted film of mental agility. Li knows his family needs an alibi. He needs to disappear evidence. And he must make sure they survive interrogation. The Police Chief is no fool, she knows something is up. This is a cat-and-mouse game that Li cannot afford to lose, and yet he knows the odds are very slim even as he has made to sure no case can be built against them. It’s a never-ending chase that is less about speed and more about stamina. As much fun as it is to see Li and his family slip by, you know that the threat is real when police go for physical torture.

Strongly recommended with reservations. The mind games, full of strategy and intentional flaws, are awesome to follow. The tone is a little discordant. We go from having fun to seeing the family suffer. That being said, the film does bring about justice in its own terms. It remains a solid offering and an entertaining film. The ending is as honest as it can be. Casual audiences would prefer a clean finale but I was thankful for a more realistic one. Definitely a favorite.

That will do for now.