My experience watching Shanghai (Dibakar Banerjee’s latest film, starring Emraan Hashmi, Abhay Deol, and Kalki Koechlin) on Sunday afternoon was a good example of the danger of going to see a movie without your expectations firmly in check. Since it released Friday I had been seeing a lot of praise for it on Twitter. I also made the mistake of re-watching, the day before, Costa Gavras’s 1969 movie Z based on the same novel by Vassilis Vassilikos that inspired Shanghai. It’s a very powerful film and as good as Shanghai is, it just couldn’t stand up to the comparison.
The disclaimer at the beginning of Z, which reads: “Any similarity to real events, to persons dead or living is not coincidental. It is INTENTIONAL”
[Note: this post contains spoilers for Shanghai and Z, strong language, and bullet points]