6.0/10
449
1 user 25 critic

Office (2015)

Hua li shang ban zu (original title)
Trailer
0:39 | Trailer
A musical set mainly in a corporate high-rise. Two assistants, Lee Xiang and Kat, start new jobs at the financial firm Jones & Sunn. Lee Xiang is an earnest young man who naively enters the... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Office (2015)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A man who supposley killed his family hides at his workplace and starts killing off his colleagues one by one.

Director: Won-Chan Hong
Stars: Seong-woo Bae, Eui-sung Kim, Ah-sung Ko
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Unfulfilled at work and dissatisfied with her marital life, a middle-aged woman attends a high school reunion and finds a floodgate of flashbacks of her salad days open before her mind's ... See full summary »

Director: Adam Wong
Stars: Jan Lamb, Miriam Chin Wah Yeung, Neo Yau
Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Two former lovers find themselves irresistibly drawn back together, despite the fact that each of them is engaged to someone else.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Vic Chou, Aaron Chow, Yuanyuan Gao
Saving Mr. Wu (2015)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Mr. Wu, a Hong Kong movie star, is kidnapped by four unpredictable criminals disguised as police officers. Will he get rescued?

Director: Sheng Ding
Stars: Andy Lau, Ye Liu, Qianyuan Wang
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A Hong Kong war romantic film set in World War II based on the real-life story of Jackie Chan's parents, Charles and Lee-Lee Chan.

Director: Mabel Cheung
Stars: Boran Jing, Miroslav Karel, Ching Wan Lau
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The life of Tao, and those close to her, is explored in three different time periods: 1999, 2014, and 2025.

Director: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Tao Zhao, Yi Zhang, Jing Dong Liang
Sparrow (2008)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A gang of pickpockets roam the streets of Hong Kong.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Simon Yam, Kelly Lin, Ka Tung Lam
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Two shopkeepers are set up on a blind date by well-meaning relatives, despite the fact that they both have somebody else on their minds.

Director: Ivy Ho
Stars: Jacky Cheung, Wei Tang, Ekin Cheng
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A cop is forced into early retirement due to retinal damage. But after witnessing a bank robbery along with a female inspector - who believes he has acute senses - they team up in hope to solve the case.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Kerry Chan
The Dead End (2015)
Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

It is a story about the redemption of three man, a cab driver who never takes credit for helping others, a auxiliary policeman who never asks for promotion even when he risks his life to ... See full summary »

Director: Baoping Cao
Stars: Chao Deng, Yihong Duan, Tao Guo
Our Times (2015)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Love grows where it isn't expected in this endearing romantic comedy coming of age movie.

Director: Yu Shan Chen
Stars: Vivian Sung, Darren Wang, Joe Chen
Zinnia Flower (2015)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

On the same day, in the same accident, Wei loses his pregnant wife and Ming her fiancé. In Buddhism, one is given 100 days to mourn for the dead. Like two mice lost in a labyrinth, Wei runs... See full summary »

Director: Tom Lin
Stars: Kar Yan Lam, Chin-Hang Shih, Bryan Shu-Hao Chang
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Sylvia Chang
Eason Chan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Zi Yi ...
Xiang Li
Edit

Storyline

A musical set mainly in a corporate high-rise. Two assistants, Lee Xiang and Kat, start new jobs at the financial firm Jones & Sunn. Lee Xiang is an earnest young man who naively enters the world of high finance with noble intentions. Kat on the other hand has a secret. Written by Mad Dog Down Time

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

2 September 2015 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Office  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in 2008. See more »

Soundtracks

He Bi Ne
Music by Ta-Yu Lo
Lyrics by Xi Lin
Performed by Eason Chan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A clear example of style over substance, Johnnie To's musical-drama is visually impressive but narratively empty
9 September 2015 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

At a ripe old age of 60, Hong Kong's gangster noir master Johnnie To seems to have mellowed. In place of hard-boiled male-driven films like 'The Mission', 'Election' and 'Exiled', To has preached about the corruptibility of money in 'Life Without Principle', broken his cardinal rule against sequels in favour of a sappy slapstick rom-com in 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart 2', and is now doing a full-fledged musical about corporate politics. 'Office', adapted by Sylvia Chang from her own hit play 'Design for Living', is probably the most uncharacteristic Johnnie To film we have seen to date, though it is also hardly one of his best, be it from a critical or commercial standpoint.

As with her play, Chang stars as the high-powered CEO named Winnie of the lucrative company Jones & Sunn that is about to launch its IPO. Established early in the narrative is that Winnie used to be the Chairman's secretary, and that their relationship goes beyond that of a mentor and a mentee. Indeed, it is an open secret among the company's rank and file employees that Winnie is Chairman Ho Chung-ping's (Chow Yun Fat) lover, and it is also hinted later on that his comatose wife (Mimi Kung) whom he visits regularly in hospital with a bouquet of flowers has never quite gotten over his affair. On the other hand, his bright Harvard-graduate daughter Kat (Long Yueting) has just joined the company as an ordinary employee, in order to give her an opportunity to prove her worth to her fellow colleagues.

Though Winnie was a pivotal lead character in the stage version, Chang's screenplay instead cedes more time to three other characters – her vice CEO David Wang (Eason Chan), a bold but impetuous go- getter who has been using the company's money to dabble in stocks; the company's financial controller Sophie (Tang Wei), who has just been dumped by her fiancé back in China because she keeps putting off their marriage in fear that it would affect her career progression; and last but not least, Li Xiang (Wang Liyi), an eager bright-eyed new employee whom Winnie favours to David's resentment and who has a thing for the Chairman's daughter Kat. Their collective fates unfold against the backdrop of the looming Lehman crisis in 2008, with profound ramifications on both the company and its employees.

Commendable though it may be for Chang to reduce her role in order to give voice to the other characters occupying different strata of the company hierarchy, the absence of a lead character unfortunately makes for several under-developed subplots that don't quite flow or blend into each other. David comes off as the most fully formed character of the lot, but his tryst with Winnie and subsequent manipulation of Sophie in the midst of her emotional meltdown lacks credibility. Ditto for Li Xiang's attraction towards Kat, which isn't given a raison d'être beyond love at first sight. But most lamentable is the relationship between Chung-ping and Winnie, which has been condensed into a handful of scenes with both exchanging knowing looks at each other during some corporate event or with Winnie staring wistfully at pictures of Chung-ping on her desktop.

Without enough time to properly develop these intricate workplace relationships, To struggles to find the right tone for his blend of office drama and satire. On one hand, the musical numbers strike a comic note on the grind of the everyday work life; on the other, the rest of the film want to portray in all seriousness the different corporate archetypes, whether the over-achieving newcomer, the brash yet insecure senior management executive, or the shrewd but Machiavellian head honcho. That uneasy balance falls apart in the third act as To tries to build towards a finale that is meant to bring both reckoning and closure for the characters, what dramatic resonance in the proceedings sadly undercut by the frivolity of some musical numbers that seem awkwardly inserted to lighten the mood.

These flaws however do not diminish the film's technical accomplishments, of which there are many. For one, the US$6.3 million set designed by William Chang on which the whole film was filmed is impressive to say the very least, especially the open- concept office space comprising one floor of orderly rows of tables and chairs and two converging staircases leading to the upper floor where the CEO's office is. Much thought has also been put into the visual design, which aims for a clean-cut minimalist look that either does away with opaque walls altogether or makes them transparent. In that respect, the staging (pardon the pun) feels almost as if we were watching actors on a stage, performing in a series of interconnected cells defined by thin metal bars and brightly lit florescent tubes.

As unique as 'Office' may be amidst To's oeuvre, it will likely not be remembered among one of his best. That has largely to do with Chang's script, which tries to balance too many characters at the same time and ends up being unwieldy in the process. It also lacks the clarity of purpose and voice as his best films, unable to decide if it wants its message to take away a serious moral message like 'Life Without Principle' or simply be entertained like 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart 2'. It ends up doing neither well, and instead coming off better as a technically accomplished exercise full of style but somewhat lacking in substance. Oh yes, it is pretty to look at, but it is ultimately also pretty empty inside.


7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
London Film Festival lealingtsang
Any connection to the 1933 Hollywood classic of same name? pkmahanand-924-32106
Seen this at the Glasgow Film Festival, my full review here cragg76
Discuss Office (2015) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?