17th Aug2013

‘Inseparable’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Daniel Wu, Kevin Spacey, Beibi Gong, Ni Yan, Peter Stormare, Kenneth Tsang, Mo Zhang | Written and Directed by Dayyan Eng


Originally filmed in 2011, Inseparable is one of those movies that defies pigeon-holing. Pegged as a “buddy-cop” superhero movie, the film actually deals with the breakdown of a marriage, mental health issues and how one man can actually make a difference.

Inseparable tells the story of Li (Wu) who, after a series of tragic life events, is burnt out. His beautiful but increasingly moody wife is never home, the unpaid bills are piling up and his work is pressuring him to lie at a public hearing. With seemingly no options left he decides to end it all. But he can’t even do that right. Enter Chuck (Spacey), Li’s wise-talking American neighbour who takes Li under his wing and encourages him to stand up for himself and the exploited people around him. Together they hit the streets as superhero’s much to the bewilderment of those around them. After initial success it becomes clear that Chuck is not really who he says he is and Li may be in serious trouble.

Despite the more serious aspects of the film – like the fact Li is actually suffering from a mental break due to stress and that one half of the heroic duo doesn’t actually exist – Inseparable is actually a funny fantasy comedy featuring angels, exploding tofu, Peter Stormare in a diaper and Kevin Spacey giving one of his great “I don’t give a shit” performances, reminding me very much of his free-spirited role in American Beauty. Thankfully Spacey and Wu also make for a great pairing, each playing off each other well with some great comedic timing – it also helps that Spacey is giving one of his best performances in years.

Outside of the comedy Inseparable is in fact a warm, heartfelt look at a man who can’t move on after a series of tragedies, so stuck in the past that he can’t bring himself to face the present. It’s about his journey to reconnect with his wife and learning to face his problems rather than pretending they don’t exist – ironically by pretending that Chuck exists!  Think of the film as a buddy comedy meets Fight Club and you’ll be somewhere close…

Inseparable is released on DVD by Matchbox Films on August 19th.

One Response to “‘Inseparable’ Review”

  • Felicia Meng

    Great review. I saw this film before and really liked it! I think whoever was marketing the film did a poor job. The movie is definitely original and not at all a “buddy-cop” movie, I think by pegging it as such, it distracts from people who want to see an interestingly original “Chinese” movie such as this one. I agree with you, great performances and direction.