Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 30th October 2013
Directed by:翁子光 Philip Yung
Starring: 溫碧霞 Irene Wan、麥德和 Mak Tak-woh、蔚雨芯 Rainky Wai、李靜儀 Heidi Lee、許雅婷 Kabby Hui
Reviewed at 10th Hong Kong Asian Film Festival 2013
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Hong Kong cinema fan rejoice once again, as this is a good one. “May We Chat” is the kind of film that local Hong Kong cinema needs. At its core, there are three excellent performances from the three newcomers leading girls (played by Kabby Hui, Heidi Lee, Rainky Wai). Dealing with dangerous and pressing issues of youth and sex, this is probably director Phillip Yung’s most matured and defining work. There are plenty daring scenes performed, including full frontal nudity from the wonderful Rainky Wai, and despite the obvious exposure, credit must be given to the cast and crew as the material is never crude or demeaning. The weakest link goes to Dominic Ho who is unable to get into his character and suffers from trying to look cool, rather than attempt at acting, while veterans Irene Wan and Mak Tak-woh are effective in supporting roles.
All three shines in their respective roles and in particular Heidi Lee manages to carry the film with the bulk of screen time, which is by no means easy for a first timer. Lee shows enough emotions without overdoing it and comes through as the character that benefited and changed the most of the lot. As she walks back to school in the final scenes, you can feel the difference. Rainky Wai should be complimented in going all out for her role. It is a daring performance that she managed to be mute for most of the film. There is a certain rawness in her character and the coldness in her eyes perfectly define the situations. Her best moment came just moments after stabbing a client multiple times with a pair of scissors. The action of the event certainly provide a big moment of spark with the audience, but it is her aftermath reaction that I enjoyed witnessing the most. That scared, bittersweet and confused look is almost priceless. Of the three leads, Kabby Hui is probably given the lesser of screen time, but like Lee and Wai, she shows plenty of potential. Hui’s best moment of the film comes when she is being kidnapped by her boyfriend (played by Dominic Ho) and his gang, who in turns gang rape her on a table. The look on her eyes at Dominic is not one of hatred or anger, but rather disappointment and eluding the feelings of betrayal which perfectly defines the moment.
Dominic Ho (“Lan Kwai Fong 2”) is probably the most experience of the young leads, but instead of showing the way or providing a breakout supporting performance, he pales in comparison to the three newcomers. In fact, it seems as though, Ho is trying hard to apt Edison Chen’s style of bad acting. If you remember Chen correctly, his acting composed of acting cool and looking good and unfortunately, Ho suffers from the same issue. I sincerely hope he can prove me wrong like Chen did in his career best performance as a “dog” in “Dog Bite Dog”. Irene Wan (“Triad”) is always impressive and there are some scenes of lingering regrets as she smoke outside the 7-11, reminiscing her rebellious youth and failure as a mother. While fellow 80s co-star Mak Tak-woh has plenty of charisma as former triad boss.
All in all, “May We Chat” does deal with some serious Hong Kong problems, both at a poverty and rich level of society. There is a similar and recurring theme in all these troubled youths as they all come from somewhat broken families. With so many divorces nowadays, one must wonder how it will impact the children of today and tomorrow. While sex is a huge focus in this film, all the scenes adds to the core message and values of the film. Director Phillip Yung is highly capable and in making this film, he has shown that he is able to balance both his style and commercial cinema. I know there will be similarities drawn between 2010’s “Girl$”, but of the two, “May We Chat” is more important, more relevant, more controversial and far more fascinating. In terms of films about troubled youth, sex, drugs and violence, this is probably as good as it gets. The good news is that, “May We Chat” is a colourful film, well acted by the three girls and if all goes to plan, it should sell as well. (Neo 2013)
I rated it 8/10
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