"Swan Lake," "The Ugly Duckling," magical realism, and two Chinese men in Tokyo. Jun is mildly mentally disabled, in his late 20s, living with his siblings after his mother has died. ... See full summary »
"Swan Lake," "The Ugly Duckling," magical realism, and two Chinese men in Tokyo. Jun is mildly mentally disabled, in his late 20s, living with his siblings after his mother has died. Knowing he's a burden to them, he runs away to the Shinjuku district where, on the first night, he recognizes another Chinese he knew in school years earlier - it's Hoi, a wannabe gangster deeply in debt to a loan shark who's just had him beaten. Jun helps Hoi home and the next day a quasi-protectorate starts. Hoi and a Chinese friend market Jun as a Korean gigolo. There's more to Jun than meets the eye, and more to Hoi's past. Who's taking care of whom? Written by
Bizarre Hong Kong film that's not too sure what it wants to be...
I saw this film with absolutely no preconceptions of what it was - I had no idea about the story or even which actors were in it. I was pleased with the cast but initially very disappointed with the script. The first 15-30 minutes are overplayed, tacky and very cheesy. It seemed like I would know the end before it began. As the film progressed though the unconvincing "buddy movie" feel subsided and the plot became a little more abstract and original, and more than a little weird. This is definitely not a Hollywood movie about a mentally ill guy, its most definitely Asian, and although it treats him with full respect as a person, the situations him and his friend get themselves into are definitely not Forrest Gump, or even God of Gamblers.
The film (not least the ending) is full of rather bizarre and absolutely unexpected surprises, and where-ever the atmosphere starts to fade they throw one of these bumps in at just the right time to keep you interested. Some of the aspects are slightly off key - the relationship of the two main players is unlikely at best, and often too sentimental, some of the setups feel a bit contrived, and some of the acting is a bit dubious. But for sheer watch-ability and presentation it does score well, as you are constantly lost in the sheer twisted imagination of whoever it was that conceived the story.
Basically - just watch it. You might be disappointed, but you also won't be left thinking that you've seen it all before.
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