USA, China | 110 MINUTES | Cantonese, English, Mandarin | English subtitles
Action, Comedy, Drama, Thriller
David Zellner shines in this darkly comedic morality tale that examines the inner workings of China’s economic engine and the lengths outsiders will to go to get in on the game. Texan Jimmy Van Horn (Zellner) arrives in China brimming with optimism, only to realize that acquiring a share of the country’s rapidly growing riches is not as easy as it appeared from back home. Armed with an absurd product pitch and short on the charisma or quick thinking needed to convince local businessmen of his sincerity, Jimmy soon finds himself out of funds, leaving him at the mercy of those who promise to help him stay in the place he’s gambled away his entire livelihood to be. As it turns out, there’s a lot of unpleasant work in China for guys who look like Jimmy Van Horn.
Writer, director, and cinematographer John Maringouin has developed a startling visual language to communicate this parable about what happens when Western assumptions meet the realities of the Chinese tech industry. The swirling, overwhelming environment he conjures seems preternaturally positioned to bring Van Horn down. Ghostbox Cowboy delivers a humorously fresh and complex perspective on China’s economic growth and uncovers the machinations that lurk just below the stereotypical facade.