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Wong gok hak yau (One Night in Mongkok)

Film Four Stars

Pitched as comparable to the excellent Wu jian dao (Infernal Affairs) in the Edinburgh Film Festival 2005 guide, it immediately caught my eye and I had to see it.

The movie opens with the camera behind two people, filming their backs as they wait for someone to arrive. From this short and slow conversation the movie fires forward with an amazing pace. Quickly it builds the characters and the plot, introducing characters and showing you the events leading up to the night in which the story takes place. Contained in these fast paced opening scenes is one of the most amazing car crashes I've seen on film, it looks incredibly real and very painful, and with that the story is set and it's back to the present day.

The style of this movie is really good with lots of handheld shots, however some of the early fight scenes are hard to follow with the Hollywood style of close ups and handheld making it difficult to follow the action. This changes as the movie continues and the action becomes easier to follow and lends itself to some very intense moments and superbly shot scenes.

What is excellent about this movie is that the characters are excellently created and very real. By that I mean that they aren't flat or black and white as we're so often shown. Here we have cops who don't want to get into gun battles with bad guys for fear of killing someone; an Assassin on his first assignment, unsure and nervous sharing the same need for money as a hooker leaving to go home; a disgraced cop turned informer struggling for money for drugs. None of these characters are one or even two dimensional, they are rich and alive.

Both leads are excellent in their portrayal of their characters with their slightly unusual chemistry, and the story plays out around them in the most unexpected of ways.

As the assassin says, you can become good by doing good, doing a bad thing can become a habit, and with that he provides a good insight into what this movie is all about. It shows how easy it is to cross that extremely wide and blurry line from whatever side you're on. This is a hard hitting, well shot movie with a very strong story line.

IMDB UK movie details




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