Friday, January 29, 2010

I might have a new Favorite Movie Named Election

Okay, so I'm more or less joking, I've only seen Johnny To's Election the once and comparing it to Alexander Payne's wonderful film would be apples (for teachers) to (blood) oranges. But seriously, if you have Netflix (it's on instant) and like crime movies (and who is reading this and saying "Nope, don't like crime movies"), you could do a lot worse with an hour and a half than spending it with this movie about a Hong Kong Triad electing its next chairman.

Election is far from the first movie to present the mob as a business, but the way it does so is pretty wonderful, especially in the section that is essentially a long relay race (with a literal baton that is a symbol of power) in which you're not quite sure who is on whose side, but they aren't really sure either. The triad involved in the film has some well known and charismatic leaders, but when an organization so big and relatively shadowy starts breaking down, it's hard to tell who you should be taking orders from, never mind who the people around you are taking orders from. This is handled hilariously as a man beating the shit out of another man and his victim both receive phone calls with instructions to help each other out, then awkwardly do so.

It's not a John Woo-style bullet ballet, but there is some very effective violence. The acting is really awesome all around and the two stars are especially solid. Simon Yam plays the level-headed father of an adolescent son who is nevertheless the potential leader of a crime syndicate and Tony Leung Ka-Fai is his rival, who brings depth to a character whose wardrobe would probably be enough to make him reasonably awesome.

Heavily recommended, and I'm going to watch the sequel very soon.

1 comment:

brennan said...

mmmm.. blood oranges