During the night of his 18th birthday, Jan-wen commits a random shooting in a crowded night market, using a self-made modified gun. Although an everyday occurrence in America, this is a once-in-a-lifetime incident that rocks Taiwan (although there was an infamous knife attack in Taipei’s subway a few years ago). We soon discover that Jan-wen has been buckling against intense pressure from his demanding father who has been pushing him to go abroad. As an escape, he devotes hours of screen time on an online RPG, as well as creating a webcomic with his pal Xing. But feeling no love from either of his parents and believing he has nowhere to turn, he reaches a breaking point.
And it is here that the film takes a radical shift. As a reporter investigates this tragic incident, the narrative is reframed by the individuals forever tainted by the shooting, asking the question, What would they have done differently? Would minuscule actions bring a brand new outcome? And what would happen if it did?
GODDAMNED ASURA is a complex, multi-layered psychological drama that explores the Butterfly effect of a random shooting by an ordinary teenager through six characters while also exploring the concept of nature versus nurture when it comes to sensationalist acts of violence. Wowing critics locally, the film is Taiwan’s official entry to the Academy Awards Best International Feature category.