KOMA (2004-HK)
review by Neo

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Two acting princesses in one movie, well one I have seen numerous occasions, and other on first viewing, but without doubt their performance are both pitch-perfect and show more than just potential. The one I seen in many other movies is Karena Lam, one of my favourite actress ever, and the other is from The Eye, Angelica Lee. This movie is from the creator of Inner Senses, the premises are similar but this outing is a horror thriller without ghosts. However most that are going to view this movie will not so much be concerned about whether Koma is a good movie, but in fact which actress, head to head is a better one.

The story goes like this, behind the glitter and glamour of a wedding reception held at a luxurious six-star hotel on a stormy evening, a horrid crime was committed. The police had yet to find a way to track down the perpetrator. Their only lead, the lone eyewitness at the scene, was bridesmaid Chi Ching. A game of the victim and the victimizer will not end until they can no longer tell the two identities apart. Sounds confusing, well it actually isn’t as confusing as it sounds, but by the film end, it does leaves the audience with a feeling of being played by the director, Law Chi-Leung who is an expert in creating twists after twists, as seen in Inner Senses.

With twists afters twists usually results in destroying the potential movies into cheesy, however, and luckily Koma though have numerous twists to its plot does not fall in that categories. Let’s move away from story focus, but what the people really wants to know: Who is a better actress. Well, my personal opinion will definitely be bias, so the next few minutes, I will put my honest opinion. In fact, my opinion actually shifts from one actress to the other like a ball bouncing on the wall and it not until the end that I am finally somewhat convince that one is better than the other. The first twenty minutes is all Angelica Lee and as result she wins the beginning, and Karena openings aren’t as striking. As the film reaches half way with two confronting, both performance are terrific and full of emotions, but still Angelica Lee seems to be edging. However the last quarter of the film, really shows why and reason why I like Karena so much, the way she act is so natural and seems to be someone being real rather than acting. Her crying scene is vivid and probably the only other crying actress comparable to her would be Cecilia Cheung. The two princesses facing off are just as terrific as Andy Lau and Tony Leung facing off. Lee on the other hand performs so well in a rather tough role should have been given the credit, but my final verdict lies in Karena emerging as slightly edging Angelica for a more natural performance.

Phew, so I have answered the question, now back to the movie. It is funny that I have been talking more about the two princesses’ performances rather than the whether the movie is any good or not. One must not forget that Andy Hui also feature as a love triangle. His performance however no matter how adequate will forever be overshadowed by Karena. By any means, I am really looking forward to one of these princesses starring opposite Tony Leung Chiu Wai.

As far as psychological horror thrillers goes, it can easily go downhill, but Koma is movie is that well directed with a bit of insight and complexity that makes this stand out above the average thriller. However, what truly take this film to another level must be the performance of Angelica Lee and Karena Lam. It is so vivid and so expressive in their facial expressions and especially Lee’s eyes really seem to create subtlety and carry the film along with Karena. Overall, Koma is not a bad movie, and in fact one that can consider as a pretty good movie. As a horror thriller, Koma is not the best but it does shows immense potential, and as with the large number of twists, it is lucky that it didn’t destroy the movie. On a final note, I personally prefer Karena’s performance better, but I doubt that many would agree with me.

I rate it 8/10

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Product Title : Koma
Artist Name(s) : Karena Lam | Angelica Lee | Andy Hui | Raymond Wong
Language : Cantonese, Mandarin
Duration : 87 minutes
Reviewed by Neo (Andrew) - May 2004