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Speechless is a film that's sat on the shelf for a long time; that shelf that holds all the movies I've bought on a whim or a hunch, the ones I mean to watch... eventually. Movies with big reps (Some Like It Hot), and movies I saw long, long ago and plan to revisit (Araki's Totally F***ked Up).

I probably bought Speechless because it was in the 2012 London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (now BFI Flare, which I attend religiously every year), but didn't get to see it. Truth be told, I thought I'd seen it already. I confused it with Soundless Wind Chime.

Speechless is a little slow out of the blocks, and its Keystone Kops give the impression of directorial incompetence (convincing police seem to be the hardest thing to get right in film and television, and the easiest thing to get wrong). But persevere: Speechless is a diamond, a smart little picture with a narrative that takes unexpected detours, and a heart of gold. 

Speechless isn't the picture you think it's going to be, and then, when it is, it changes gear and becomes something else.

Don't be put off by the low budget video look: director Simon Chung shot his film in China, guerilla-style, because a film with this level of faggotry just wouldn't get permission.

Need a purely superficial reason to watch? The boys are hot. Jian Jiang is supermodel hot as Han Dong; Qilun Gao and Pierre-Matthieu Vital are adorable as, respectively, Xiao Jiang and Luke.

Speechless doesn't just boast hot boys. Girls, Yung Yung Yu is delicious as Ning; when she first appears, it's in a scene that recalls that iconic Joan Crawford piano tableau in Johnny Guitar.

How does it end? Not how you'd expect. Speechless, lives up to its name.

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