I'LL CALL YOU (2006) HK
review by Neo




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Witty postmodern romance...
Once in a while, an unexpectedly good HK movie surprises you like a beautiful surprise. I’ll Call You is a film produced and funded by HK superstar Andy Lau’s Focus Films, which is giving young filmmakers around Asia an opportunity to shoot HD films. The director is here is the unlikely fat guy from Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle’s fame and surprising he made a highly enjoyable and highly intelligent film. These are words that are not normally associated with romantic comedies, but this is one heck of a beautiful little film that explores the notion into modern romance without being cliché. It is stunning as it is simple yet witty and at times very relevant to the lives of many 20-30 year olds. Fat Guy, directs this flick with signature style and flair, and combining obvious inspiration from classed filmmakers, Fat Guy shot this film with a comic touch, yet hiding a sentimental feel benefit the surface. Alex Fong who marks his debut with this film, shows a natural role of himself and relatively newcomer Viann Leung is uniformly pitch perfect as a new age HK girl.

New fresh ideas is what HK cinema needs, and this flick is definitely raw and fresh, much praise must be given to Andy Lau for funding flicks for independent movies such as these. Fat Guy surprises me to the max and created a worthwhile movie experience. His panning shot is brilliant and at times resembles high art direction and his ingenious influence from Stephen Chow is quite frankly obvious as things appears out of the blue such as Andy Lau singing is a stroke of comic genius. There are obvious flaws associated with the work, but the pros by far outweigh the cons. Alex Fong misstep in his other movie – Marriage With a Fool, but here his performance is top rated and immensely natural. All credit to the Fat Guy here, who uses his limited resources competently and the opening PC game like scoring system of winning a girl is clearly another well though out idea.

This flick emphasis on romance, and yet under no circumstances does it seem cliché at all. Unlike typical romantic comedies, this flick tries to explore deeper into the feelings of the pair and the reasons behind each actions. Everything happens for a reason in this world, while Viann Leung is clearly playing around with Alex, sympathies are not directly towards Alex, but rather moving towards Viann’s flawed yet cute character. She is perhaps, one of those typical HK girls you see at clubbing, who wants to have fun and enjoy the dose of partying. Fat Guy wittingly explores this notion into her character and the finale is brilliantly staged. One may think they can escape the jail by digging a hole, only to realize afterwards that the hole leads back to where we came from.

Alex Fong puts in a layered performance, from being dumb and played around by Viann, matures as he goes through his life experiences. A truly flawed, yet natural performance from the former swimming champion; clearly fueled with potential. Viann Leung performs her best in a role that is not easy to handle, she is carefree, fun loving and yet the audience continues to like her. She is cute, and charming without being beautiful, complements her performance here with a natural flair. Andy Lau appears here and there in an amusing cameo.

In the flick, Gordon Lam said a few thoughtful lines – if you want to do it, do it now, then you might ask – what happens next? You will know the next step after you take the first step. Simple as it seems, it is extremely relevant, as it expresses the notion of modern romance. Words and actions can change someone’s life and the Fat Guy directed a small piece of gem here. Perhaps what Fat Guy wants to say is that technology has changed the way love is and for better or for worst, people no longer treasure those in front of you as much as in the past, as we constantly attempts to seek for a better half. Neo is not easily pleased, but this production impressed me, just as it surprised me. Expecting a cliché, romantic comedy, what turned out to be one of the best movies of 2006 and perhaps one of the best romantic comedies in years. This is exactly the reason why I continue to watch HK movies, because once in a while it surprises you with fresh new ideas. Fat Guy, well done and as a birthday gift for me, Neo really liked this…

I rate it 9/10

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Genre: Comedy/Romance
Director: Director: Lam Tze Chung
Cast: Viann Leung | Alex Fong | Yuan Qiu, Andy Lau, Lam Suet
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), May 2006