The Abandoned (2023) – Movie Review

As migrant workers increasingly disappear, a cop still mourning their partner finds the case to be just the distraction she needs.


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)

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Title Card - The Abandoned

Plot Summary

After the death of her fiancée, Deputy Captain Wu Chieh wasn’t in the best spirits as New Year’s Day was approaching. Luckily for her, though not the victim(s), she is assigned a case to solve the murder and disappearance of migrants alongside a new recruit, Wei-shan.

But, with a litany of migrants missing in what appears to be Taiwan, this case isn’t easy, and people like Yu-sheng are not only trying to protect their business of exploiting migrant workers but also impetuous.

Content Information

  • Dialog: Cursing (Occasional)
  • Violence: Amputation/Dismemberment, Blood, Weapon Violence (Type: Knife, Gun), Self-Harm, Murder (Attempted/ Depicted)
  • Sexual Content: Nudity (Brief | Breasts/ Full)
  • Miscellaneous: Depiction of Corpses, Body Horror, Depiction of Medical Procedures, Smoking, Urination

General Information

Director(s)

Ying-Ting Tseng

Screenplay By

Pin Chun Lin      

Ying-Ting Tseng

Yi-Chien Yang

Date Released

December 31, 2023

How To Watch

Netflix

Genre(s)

Crime, Drama, Thriller, Non-English (Mandarin)

Film Length

1 Hour 44 Minutes

Content Rating

Rated TV-MA

Noted Characters and Cast

Deputy Captain Wu Chieh

Janine Chang

Wei-shan

Chloe Xiang

Yu-sheng

Ethan Juan

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Wu Chieh (Janine Chang)

Deputy Captain Wu Chieh (Janine Chang) barely paying attention and out of it
Deputy Captain Wu Chieh (Janine Chang) barely paying attention and out of it

Still mourning the loss of her romantic and potentially professional partner, Deputy Captain Wu is currently in the process of transferring out of the investigation unit for a different assignment.

Wei-shan (Chloe Xiang)

Deputy Captain Wu Chieh (Janine Chang) and Wei-shan (Chloe Xiang) as they learn they will be working together on the missing migrant case
Deputy Captain Wu Chieh (Janine Chang) and Wei-shan (Chloe Xiang) as they learn they will be working together on the missing migrant case

A new recruit to the investigation unit, it is noted she was top of her class, but while she is talented regarding procedures and theory, she is not the most adept in the field.

Yu-sheng (Ethan Juan)

Yu-sheng (Ethan Juan) learning his ex's sister told her to break up with him
Yu-sheng (Ethan Juan) learning his ex’s sister told her to break up with him

Alongside working or owning a convenience store, Yu-sheng also helps arrange work and fake identification for migrant workers.

Collected Quote(s)

When there are too many forks in the road, ask the person who built it.
— Deputy Captain Wu

Review


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)


Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

A Quality Mystery

While, as noted below, some of the players may not get you invested in their safety, it is undeniable that the mystery of who is hurting, kidnapping, and likely killing the migrant workers and why is intriguing. Especially since “The Abandoned” isn’t trying to be overly clever or pursue a simple route. It brings a good balance of respecting the viewer enough to give them crumbs but not having the reveal be so outlandish that it feels like they made up a twist to have one.

Investment In DC Wu’s Mental Health

At the beginning of the film, as you see DC Wu perhaps ready to join her partner, there is a need to question if she’ll be alright. Thankfully, the way the film operates, it neither dwells too much on her partner’s death nor tries to push feelings of guilt, loved ones, or new romances onto her. She is the type who recognizes an idle mind is the devil’s playground, and while she may protest to the rookie being on the case, it was nice to see their relationship remain professional and not veer towards them becoming besties.

On The Fence

Slight Indifference Towards Supporting Cast

To be frank, the case DC Wu is on is surprisingly more dangerous than you would expect, and between firearms going off and people being stabbed, there is violence. But, while we get to know DC Wu and build a connection with her, the same can’t really be said for anyone else.

Among the named characters, Wei-shan doesn’t evolve more than being the rookie at the top of her class. We don’t learn where she is from, why she decided to be a cop, none of that. In some ways, that is beneficial, for if all she did was talk non-stop to try to bond with DC Wu, either as a mentor or because they both were women, that could get annoying. Yet, with not learning about her, it makes the multiple life-or-death situations she is in not feel like a big deal or impactful.

The same goes for Yu-sheng. While it is clear, like others in the movie, he has certainly fallen for a migrant woman, and his relationship with one that has gone missing has left him in a state of disarray, he isn’t fleshed out to the point of really caring about him as a person. He is simply a part of the migrant worker exploitation workflow and just so happen to take note of one enough to date them.

And beyond those two, no one operates beyond their role. DC Wu and Wei-Shen’s boss might be kind at times, but he isn’t trying to open up and allow the audience to get to know him. Then, when it comes to Yu-sheng’s associates or even a love rival, again, there isn’t much to hold onto. Some present a threat to other people’s lives, but unless it is DC Wu’s life, most, if not all, feel expendable.

Good If You Like

  • Simple, but not dull mystery movies that have a touch of notable violence
  • A lead who isn’t outright sullen but isn’t chipper

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Anatomy Of A Fall
  2. A Haunting In Venice
  3. The Lesson

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.


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The Abandoned (2023) – Movie Review

Summary

“The Abandoned” is a straightforward murder mystery film which may lack flair but remains intriguing enough to warrant attention.

Overall
79%
79%
  • A Quality Mystery - 82%
    82%
  • Investment In DC Wu’s Mental Health - 83%
    83%
  • Slight Indifference Towards Supporting Cast - 73%
    73%

Highlight(s)

  • Investment In DC Wu’s Mental Health
  • A Quality Mystery

Disputable

  • Slight Indifference Towards Supporting Cast

What Would Your Rating Be?

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