"Bus 44 explores the dark – and bright side of humanity ..."
Take2IndieReview | March 18, 2019
BUS 44

Based on a true story, BUS 44 is an Award Winning Chinese short film (subtitles) Written, Directed and Produced by Dayyan Eng.

The film opens up with striking cinematography (Sam Koa) of a singular bus driving along a lonesome tree-lined road.  There are no markers to define where this is Рcreating a beautiful ambiguity of time and place.

A female bus driver (Beibi Gong) drives the almost full bus of passengers to a destination unknown.¬† The bus comes to a stop when flagged down by a young man (Wu Chao) who says he’s been waiting two hours on the road.¬† He pays his fare, asks if it’s okay if he smokes and notices from the license, that the driver is filling in for someone else.¬† The bus driver tells him to find himself a seat.

The same scenario seems to repeat itself when the bus driver stops for two men.  The two men board the bus and a robbery takes place.  Before exiting the bus, one of the robbers decides to take the bus driver with him.

What makes this film difficult yet fascinating to watch – is the human exploration by the filmmaker – of how people react in certain situations.¬† While everyone just sits on the bus as the female bus driver is dragged away, Chao asks out loud “why is everyone just sitting?”¬† The film becomes so disturbing at this point – how can these passengers sit there and choose to do NOTHING?¬† Chao exits the bus in an attempt to help the girl.

The haunting ending to this chilling story is heartbreaking – and somehow feels justified.¬† It brings you into the victim’s mental status.¬† Her choice is clear for the passengers – and for Chao.