For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
Critics reviews
Angels Wear White
Vivian Qu China, 2017
Shooting largely with a handheld camera, Qu generates a jittery energy that makes the characters’ stress palpable.
June 27, 2018
Read full article
It’s a worthy follow up to her debut Trap Street, a masterful exploration of the corrosive effects of corruption and fear on a society, the systems of power and control that dominate it, and the devastating domino effects of trauma on an entire community.
June 19, 2018
Read full article
This all sounds grim, and it is. But the story grabs you. Ms. Qu shoots the sturdily constructed scenario with unshowy sharpness. . . . The moral rot and callous corruption depicted in “Angels Wear White” has a particularly bracing effect in part because, cultural specifics aside, the inhumanity on display is hardly alien.
May 03, 2018
Read full article
Qu’s accomplished, ultimately rigid style depends on a glamorous repression that reduces every character to a variable in her political equation. In her understandable fury, the filmmaker almost valorizes suffering, embracing it as a substantial signifier of identity.
May 02, 2018
Read full article
Like a Marco Ferreri movie, Vivian Qu rips into the violent imbalance of gendered conventions by measuring the totems of femininity against those who have to live up to them. In doing so, she shows the extent to which personal will and accountability are dwarfed by superstructural mass collusion, self-interest and conformism, which form the very preconditions for abuse to first occur and then go unpunished.
January 02, 2018
Read full article
It appends a rare, brilliant female perspective to the recent emergence of a new noir cycle from Chinese independent auteurs.
November 03, 2017
In other hands, this would be a compelling enough crime procedural, but Qu moulds Angels Wear White into a daylight noir of complex moral dilemmas, compromised public services and a social system that stacks the odds against our protagonists at every turn… Qu’s vision, both as writer and director, is sympathetic to her characters’ struggles, yet her social commentary is savage, subtle and precision-tooled.
September 27, 2017
Read full article
To reduce producer-writer-director Vivian Qu’s Angels Wear White to its surrounding accomplishments would be to undersell what is achieved through the incisive blows that materialize from its skeletal framework… The daze induced by Angels Wear White, the follow-up to Qu’s debut feature Trap Street (2013), deepens like a sliver of a needle injected beneath the skin: each detail grips like a strained muscle aching for relief.
September 19, 2017
Read full article
At first glance, Qu’s overall approach may seems dispassionate or withholding… What really pierces are the performances of Qi and Zhou Meijun (as one of the victims), both of which confirm Qu as an astute director of children. Their austere looks grip the frame in transitory downtimes when little else seems to be happening; tension is ramped up according to what’s left out of the narrative.
September 14, 2017
Read full article
The high-decibel finickiness of mother!‘s sound design (growling furnaces! screeching sinks!) is put to shame by the uncanny calm and quiet of Vivian Qu’s Angels Wear White, a far more unsettling film… This is only Qu’s second film, yet her lucid spareness and yen for revealing female dynamics already mark her as a director of rare gifts.
September 11, 2017
Read full article
Exposing the sordid corruption of police and government officials through their incriminating involvement in a child sexual assault case, “Angels Wear White” could give parents of young daughters a cold sweat. Chinese director-producer Vivian Qu’s depiction of the protagonists’ fates can be unflinchingly cruel at times, but the bleak tone is soothed by grace notes such as the protagonists’ fragile beauty and the desolate poetry of its seaside setting.
September 07, 2017
Read full article
The director of Trap Street and producer of Berlinale-winning Black Coal, Thin Ice pulls no punches in her tentacled piece, and it leaves a livid mark. . . . Whatever its domestic fate, Angels is a skilful combination of tense, dark drama with biting social commentary.
September 06, 2017
Read full article