September 07, 2006



EXILED, the new movie from Johnnie To, and the supposed sequel to THE MISSION, gets reviewed by Variety and ScreenDaily after premiering at the Venice Film Festival and they're raves. Well, ScreenDaily is not quite a rave but we'll get to that. Derek Elley writes about EXILED for Variety saying:

"Strongly recalling some of his late '90s work, like THE MISSION and A HERO NEVER DIES Johnnie To's "Exiled" plays like a lazy-day, Mexican-set Western that happens to take place in Macau...In a mixed East Asian bag at Venice, it was by far the most popular pic...And at least one sequence -- a blackly humorous moment when both groups unknowlingly converge in an operating room where a doctor's performing surgery -- may become a classic."

Dan Fainaru reviews for ScreenDaily, saying:

Less concerned than ever to tell an actual story, and more interested in exploring the possibilities of cinematic language, Johnnie To's latest gang war epic is probably his most eccentric foray yet into the genre...The result is an orgy of unchained violence in which a small group of professional hitmen join forces against the rest of the world, with the police looking the other way...Initially it would seem futile to try and discern any sense from this fierce bloodshed, but its increasingly unreal nature seems to metaphorically reflect the state of the world we live in..."

ScreenDaily sometimes seems to encourage a more philosophical and less aesthetic contemplation of Hong Kong movies, but I wish they'd gotten Shelley Kraicer to review this one. He brings a terrific grounding in Chinese film to his reviews, and there's something slightly off about this review. Maybe it's the focus on violence which seems misplaced (sort of like pointing out all the music in a Bollywood movie) or maybe it's the odd use of words that don't quite fit ("Cameraman Chang Siu Keung helps the director summon up an apotheosis of mayhem...destined to bawl over all To’s regular fans.") or maybe it's the strange sentences like this one:

"At times both confusing and enigmatic, Exiled stands as much a chance at festivals and on arthouse circuits as it does in midnight multiplex slots, where patrons may better appreciate how To deploys the tools of his trade."

Why would a midnight audience appreciate the "tools of To's trade" better than an arthouse or festival crowd? And who shows midnight movies these days?

It's a positive review but it was just...weird.

September 7, 2006 at 10:23 AM in Reviews | Permalink


On a side note: According to July/August 2006 issue of "FILM COMMENT", Manohla Dargis thinks that ELECTION 2 (aka TRIAD ELECTION) is a very good movie !

Posted by: no name | Sep 7, 2006 11:05:04 AM

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