OUR KEN (2004-HK)
review by Neo
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Edmond Pang is the man! Yes, if you never heard of him, think about black comedies - Men Suddenly in Black, the original and witty - You Shoot I Shoot. With Johnny To losing some form in recent years, and Stephen Chow making less and less movies, HK need a new rising star and geez and well and well - Edmond has done well once again. He has not only crafted a witty and smart, yet dark movie, but turned Gillian into an actress and Daniel Wu into a class supporting actor. Surely you might think I am exaggerating as I am a fan of Twins and my sister is a fan of Daniel Wu, but who cares, when a movie is not only engaging, but a rare HK drama movie in 2004 that actually stands as one of the best movies of 2004.
What I really admire Edmond is his ability to turn simple scripts into witty, dark and yet engaging movie that will leave the audience feeling and thinking about the complexities of the world and how things can be simple on surface may well be the most complex and un-expecting problem that one may face. The story goes like this: Karaoke waitress Lan (Tao Hung) has good relationship with her boyfriend Ken (Wu) until one day Ching (Chung) tells her one thing: Ching, Ken's ex-girlfriend, finds that her nude photo is open to public online, making her lose her teacher job. Ching wants to get back the photo from Ken, so Lan joins her to get back the nude photos from Ken's home secretly.
However things are not what you think they are and to add to the smart ending by Pang, the director cleverly comments on who are the lesser of evil or perhaps Daniel may well be not that evil after all? Questions are what smart movies are good at and the ones that make you think are twice as good. Pang is one damn good director that doesn't shoot movie conventionally and his story telling methods may resembles Wong Kar Wai and Johnny To mixed together, but neither can share the dark comments that Pang ultimately raises. After all in a relationship is cheating on one person really such a bad thing? Or is revenge on someone who cheated on you worst? Perhaps no one knows the answer to it, then again, this is only a movie.
People breaks up into relationship for numerous reasons and Pang smartly interweaves and cast a sweet looking Gillian in dark role, perfectly juxtaposing the situation and allows the audience to go with the flow and root for Gillian innocent face all the way till something else happened. Chinese actress has been in many movie roles lately, as in Butterfly, they were the highlights and here, Tao Hung fills that role and does amazingly well, while not overshadowing Gillian, her performance stands on her own and plays her role in a charming yet filled with hidden emotions beyond herself. Daniel Wu, an actor I have praised many times as one that actually tried to act, although not convincing in the past, this year 2005 has seen Daniel Wu as the first of the new generation actors to give hope to the HK cinema in the future. His roles has all been dark, perhaps it is what show his best side and here, he gives a par better than his role in New Police Story and a more natural performance than A Nite in Mongkok.
Neo rarely praise someone a director as witty and smart, and as humble as Neo has become, Pang has outwitted him and gave him an engaging and dark movie for Neo to finally review. If only Pang can make more movies in one year, then HK cinema will be saved, well at least it is better than last year now. Pang is an outstanding talent, while as writer he has put a few foot wrong, but since directing, Pang is pitch perfect and continues to surprise Neo. While Neo was surprise by black comedy in previous movies, Pang surprise Neo with Gillian's performance and geez, I was so surprised that it got me off guard.
I rate it 9/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Director: Edmond Pang Ho-Cheung
Cast: Gillian Chung Yan-Tung, Tao Hung, Daniel Wu (Ng Yin-Tso), Jimmy Wong Ka-Lok
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), February 2005
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