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Perth (2004)

5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 231 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 12 critic

Perth is the journey into the heart of Harry Lee, a 51-year-old part-time security guard and taxi driver. He belongs to a redundant generation, eclipsed by a fast-paced, elitist society ... See full summary »

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Title: Perth (2004)

Perth (2004) on IMDb 5.5/10

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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Kay Tong Lim ...
Harry Lee
Qiu Lian Liu ...
Wife
A. Panneeirchelvam ...
Selvam
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jason Aspes ...
Road rage Victim
Boeing ...
Faithful
Boy ...
MC jufti Security Guard
...
Neighbor's Maid (as Stephanie Budiman)
Ivy Cheng ...
Mai
Charmaine Chua ...
Cheap Slut
Stepharn Girodot ...
Charles the Curious Frenchman
Justin Guariglia ...
Dog owner
Gene Ho ...
Nerdy Soldier on bus
Zahir Hussein ...
Smug Bouncer
Steven Lee ...
Khmer Rouge Officer
Colin Loh ...
Bus Driver
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Storyline

Perth is the journey into the heart of Harry Lee, a 51-year-old part-time security guard and taxi driver. He belongs to a redundant generation, eclipsed by a fast-paced, elitist society that is mesmerized with education and status. Harry desires to leave the antiseptic streets of Singapore for his paradise on earth in Western Australia. His attempt to migrate is complicated when he takes on a job ferrying prostitutes. This evokes painful memories from his past. When he takes an unhealthy interest in a Vietnamese prostitute, it awakens a dark and dangerous attempt at personal redemption. The film tackles an extremely topical issue of emigration in Singapore. It is peppered by denizens of the underbelly of Singapore society, reflecting the multicultural idiosyncrasies of a seemingly pristine city. More importantly, it is a personal journey of a flawed man in a society that does not tolerate failure. As such, Harry s rant and anger - directed at anyone and anything, but himself - is ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

singapore | prostitute

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the dream of a simple man

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

18 August 2005 (Singapore)  »

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Budget:

SGD 350,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: Perth
15 August 2005 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Perth is Harry Lee's retirement plan. As an ex-army commando regular turned security supervisor of a shipyard, he leads a nonchalant life, where he regularly exclaims to others that he's a simple man with little materialistic desires, and harbours a goal to settle in Perth, Australia, where life down under is said to be good.

When retrenched, he seeks employment as a taxi driver, but ever looking for that break in life to earn more cash to achieve his objective. However, things turn out more complicated for Harry. When sober, we see the empty facade Harry exudes to others, but we learn of the true state of his life when in drunkenness, pouring out his woes to his friends - he's separated from his cheating, gambling wife, and his son refuses to acknowledge him.

His is a lonely sad life, and this movie takes a look at the life of the forgotten pioneers of Singapore's materialistic success. We follow his path to the seedier side of the Lion City, into the world of pimps and prostitutes, where he has a lucrative job to ferry the girls to their customers, no questions asked. A depression-proof job, says his friend Angry Boy Lee.

Somehow, coffeeshops feature prominently in Singapore movies of late, and Perth is no different, where characters sit around and rant about the authorities, give subtle jibes on the army, and the eventuality of army regulars after their retirement from the uniformed services. They go on about how a better life in Singapore equates first to having a good education, how materialism has crept into society's moral fiber, and the greener pastures available abroad for the lowly skilled. The jibes on the ang-moh's are not subtle though, them being cursed at and assaulted.

We know Harry is a violent man from his inner thoughts, but early in the film, it's like his bark is deadlier than his bite. The occasional rant aside, Harry is a man who values faithfulness and loyalty. He fails to see that though his family might not exhibit these values (probably due to his inner violent nature which led to domestic violence), his friends like Angry Boy and Selvam, actually do.

The subplot on love and his budding relationship with a Vietnamese call girl at times drags the movie, but it is necessary to lead the movie to its extremely violent finale. The language used throughout is colourful, and I could not think of a local Hokkien expletive not spewed in this film.

Perth looks like a one man show from its trailer and poster, with Lim Kay Tong putting in a wonderful performance in shouldering the movie, but gladly, a cast of familiar (and perhaps stereotypical) supporting characters help add some depth and sometimes, dark humour. You'll see familiar faces from local TV productions too, like Channel 8's Liu Qiu Lian as Harry's wife. From the laughter amongst the audience, Angry Boy Lee and Selvam are easily favourite characters of some.

It's a dark and gritty film, some might consider a local adaptation of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver. But perhaps expectations will be set too high if benchmarked against that classic. This is story of Harry Lee, not Travis Bickle, so put the comparisons aside, and enjoy the ride.


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