Sang Yu is a struggling screenwriter who hasn’t been able to sleep for over six months. Whenever sleep comes, man is the victim of frightening nightmares in which he is chased by a humanoid figure with monstrous features, which every time tries to make him skin. Full of debts and a victim of eviction, he finds himself overnight on the street and doesn’t know what to do with his life. When, exhausted, he is forced to give in to the clutches of Orpheus, he is again grappling with his dreamlike nemesis but this time, thanks to the mantra “I’m dreaming“manages to wake up and in real life he discovers that he has brought an ancient sword with him.
The weapon is of inestimable value and after having sold it the man gets back on his feet: now for him sleeping is no longer a tragedy, on the contrary, after each dream he “comes back” with a relic that is always different.
Sang Yu soon becomes very rich, but the pomp behind his new life as a billionaire – full of ideals for building a better world – risks attracting unwanted attention. Furthermore, his constant wandering between the “two worlds” risks making him lose touch with reality.
Looking for something
There are some interesting ideas behind it, but on several occasions you end up falling into an involuntary parody, nullifying all screenwriting efforts that sought to insinuate greater depth into the story and characters.
The incipit of Super Me, new exclusive of the Netflix catalog, takes advantage of the theme of dreams and mysteries hidden in them, with an eye to the fantastic and a pleasant metacinematographic instinct in the protagonist’s career as a screenwriter. The sudden change of his fortunes, in such a paradoxical way, however, already suggests the actual final turning point of the story and hardly a plot from this epilogue can be really surprising for an audience now accustomed to twists of all kinds.
As mentioned, above all the first part is characterized by a marked tragicomic aura, with that typically Chinese humor that may not be to everyone’s liking.
Gradually the story tries to proceed on pseudo-philosophical territories, and the final part, which is tinged with crime and more tense atmospheres, appears not very homogeneous with what has been seen previously.
Do I dream or am I awake?
Sure, Sang Yu’s path is a long march in search of awareness, and the playful and visionary context is preparatory precisely to what is in the making, but one gets the impression that the project lacks solidity and has been conceived by different hands.
Instead both screenplay and direction are the work of Chong Zhang alone – at the second rehearsal behind the camera after the dramatic The Fourth Wall (2019) – which he was probably forced to adhere to some more commercial logics designed for the indigenous audience.
The cast gets along without infamy and without praise, with a good presence of discretely characterized secondary figures, and yet another twist during the closing credits it adds further implications, albeit not entirely original.
The result is thus an unlikely mix, at times even fun and why not also compelling in the action sequences thanks to the discreet special effects, but constantly undecided about which atmospheres to prefer and unable to give clear points of reference to the viewer, tossed here and there between lighter tones and demented thread and others more dark and bitter.