Zen drumming and The Drummer

Here we strive to drum without drumming.

That video was from the actual drum group which participated in the making of the movie called, The Drummer. Watch it in full screen.

The Drummer is an excellent story about the Zen path and choices. A bored, spoiled son of a small-time crime boss looks to stir up excitement by touching the forbidden fruit. In this case; it’s the kept woman of a bigger crime lord. In payment for this insult, the Big boss demands the hands of the offending person. That’s right, he wanted them cut off.

Of course the boy’s father could not comply with this, so he sends the boy, together with his right hand man off to the country to lay low. Here is where the story really begins. A tale of choices, paradoxes, and irony.

The main characters in this interplay are the father, the son, and the bodyguard. The son (who in real life is Jackie Chan’s son) faces total boredom, and culture shock. It seems to go on without end. One day he hears a distant drumming. Following the sound, he comes upon a group of Zen drummers who live in the mountains.

The story goes from here to illustrate the eventual transformation which this boy experiences, as he struggles to bring himself in harmony with this odd group of humble people.

This foreign movie is sparse on the spoken dialect. If a viewer sees only this fact, they may think the movie itself to be shallow or cliché. But the unspoken dialect is replete with layer upon layer of storyline. Each of the three characters have their own story. When taken together the message of the movie, which comes across as a whisper, leaves the impact of a cannon.

There is a moment near the tail end of the movie which is so poignant, I felt my heart aching, (spoiler alert) in which the boy is beating on The spirit drum, and the boy’s now deceased father is joining him on the other side also beating. This brings us right back to an earlier part of the movie in which the father tells the son, “What is the point in drumming?” “It has no real meaning that lasts.”

Not only does the meaning last, but as the boy and the man drum, the drum speaks its own words, everything you ever did hear, and we see guilty parties being convicted and knowing their eventual dooms.

This movie is available as a play now for those of you who have Netflix You can watch the trailer below.


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