Cliff Walkers (2021)

Directed by
Solid spy propaganda
Reviewed by Simon on 2024-01-27

Four communist spies who have been training in Russia parachute into Northern China on a secret mission. They split into two groups and things almost immediately go awry when one group discovers they've been sold out and their contacts are Nationalist agents.

After the god-awful SNIPERS I decided I'd give Zhang Yimou a chance to retroactively redeem himself, and I think it's fair to say Cliff Walkers does that. Whilst still broadly falling under the banner of propaganda it is at least good propaganda, and an actual film at the same time.

The web of intrigue is dynamic and the pacing is taut, as moves and counter-moves play out between the opposing factions, a game of information and misinformation with deadly stakes.

The production values are not exactly peak Zhang and it doesn't have the inimitable stamp of a cinematic auteur that his best work does, but the craftsmanship is perfectly respectable. Far from essential viewing, but not one to avoid either.