[NeoFilmShop.com] Dealer / Healer (2017) – Hong Kong
Director Lawrence Lau finally gets a turn at a bigger budgeted film with some of industry biggest stars at his disposal. Famed for characterising the genre of youth difficulty living on the edge of poverty and drugs, Lau takes a step further into the adult world of drugs and eventual redemption. To be honest, the film is constantly uneven and ends up a mixed bag of emotions given the the peace making message for the second duration. Still, the film remains fun throughout, carried by lead Lau Ching Wan in a difficult role about a deadbeat gangster living in the walled Kowloon City with his estranged girlfriend (played excellently by Jiang Yiyan) who is forced to the brink of prostitution. Gordon Lam and Max Zhang shows up as Lau’s best buddies and are more ridiculously and unbelievable in both their acting and characters they are portraying. Patrick Tam appears in some scene stealing scenes, while Louis Koo seems to be acting in his own film as small time gang leader.
The problem with Dealer / Healer is not so much the storyline, but the focus appears to be all over the place. The first half we get a besieged city and people living in atrocious environment, but the film makes an instant switch with Lau Ching Wan waking up instantly to be a peace maker and anti drug administrator. It all seem too forced and manufactured and that being said, there are some lovely comic moments especially in the second half. Don’t get me wrong, this is a brutal film, but it never hits the mark.
I rated it 3/5
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