Friday, November 18, 2005
Jonnie To's ELECTION (Hak Seh Wui)
"The time has come, as it does every two years, for the senior members of Hong Kong's oldest Triad, The Wo Shing Society, to elect a new chairman. Fierce rivalries emerge between the two eligible candidates. Lok, respected by the Uncles is the favourite to win. But his rival Big D will stop at nothing to change this, including going against hundreds of years of Triad tradition and influencing the vote with money and violence."
Johnnie To (The Heroic Trio, Fulltime Killer, Throwdown) has definitely lifted his game with this cinematically stunning masterpiece. It's a lavishly shot film, using only available light, that moves away from the typical visually unadventurous Hong Kong style of filmmaking for a more internationally appealing look. The plot is simple, yet wrapped within it are various strains of conflicts. Sometimes it's hard to keep a grasp on what is happening because new characters are briskly introduced to fatten up the complexity. The last several years of cop films from HK have been thin on the ground, so I enjoyed the fact that this delivered the goods. Simon Yam (Young & the Dangerous, Fulltime Killer) plays Lok, the seemingly docile fatherly figure to his young son & Tony Leung Ka Fai (Ashes of Time, Throwdown) is in the role of the maniacally obsessed loose cannon psycho Big D. When it gets meaty, it gets seriously meaty. And just when you think it is going soft, it hammers the past back home.
This was showing at the Reading Cinema in Market City, Sydney.
• Trailer: Election
Distributed by Hopscotch Films