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"Caught in the Web": Life in Your Daily Internet Controversy 

Wednesday, Jan 1 2014

Whatever else may happen when and if China takes over the world, our Internet culture won't change all that much, judging from recent net-saturated Chinese films such as Finding Mr. Right and now Chen Kaige's Caught in the Web, which purports to be about cyber-bullying but doesn't have much new to say about that or anything else. After receiving a cancer diagnosis, executive secretary Ye (Gao Yuanyuan) is too distracted to give up her seat on the bus to an old man, in spite of the morally righteous crowd of people yelling at her to do just that, and of course the incident is recorded and made a viral sensation by a passenger who happens to be a cub TV reporter (Wang Luodan). For as much noise is made about online commenters and the dishonesty and corruption of both old and new media, Caught in the Web keeps distracting itself with soapy subplots, and why Ye never explains that her self-absorption was due to shellshock from the cancer diagnosis isn't addressed. Possibly it's a cultural difference, but mostly it just feels like a plot convenience. And did you know that Crossfire-style yak shows often encourage their talking heads to disagree and argue in order to get better ratings? Shocking but true!

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Sherilyn Connelly

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