Thursday, November 29, 2007

Exodus (Hong Kong 2007)

"Women are planning to kill men all the time".

You can call it a war of the sexes, a conspiracy theory gone awry, over the top, or even a little silly, but it would be more accurate to call it one of the most interesting movies to come out of Hong Kong in a long while. Exodus takes itself very seriously, and with a mix of fine performances and cinematography, you'll feel the same way.

Tsim Kin-Yip (Simon Yam), is a low-ranking cop with twenty-years on the force under his belt who is handed a suspect by the name of Kwan Ping-Man (Nick Cheung). Yip begins to take Kwan's colorful statement about how he was in a woman's bathroom video taping and peeping in on them. While doing this, Kwan explains how he overheard a couple of women plotting to kill men...all men, and he was gathering evidence to prove it all. Yip takes it as the ramblings of a crazy man and pays Kwan no mind by wrapping up the paperwork in order to let him go as soon as possible. Yip heads back to his life with his wife Ann (Annie Liu), and the task of helping with the renovations of their new place. Among other things, Yip also has to deal with Ann's mother (Candy Yu), and her always harping about his age and his time spent on the force. She's constantly complaining that he should own his own business and be doing something more with his life. Yip's bored with his position at work and and he doesn't give his wife very much attention at home, which results in her acting out in a variety of different activities. But when Kwan changes his statement to a simple peeping story, and nothing related to a "women killing men" conspiracy, Yip is interested in finding out why his story suddenly changed. He finds out that his superior officer, Fong (Maggie Siu), spoke with Kwan and that's when his story changed. Yip decides to dedicate all of his time to the case and finds out that a string of men have died in unexplained ways. While looking for Kwan, Yip finds Kwan's ex-wife Pun Siu Yuen (Irene Wan), snooping around Kwan's apartment. The two form an interesting relationship that seems to do nothing more than distract Yip from his investigation. Is Yip just looking for something that isn't there or just lost in the idea of making a difference?

The way Pang Ho-Cheung handles the subject matter in Exodus accounts for the reason you will either enjoy this movie or dislike it. I, on one hand, thought that it didn't come across as funny or a black-comedy in any way. I was there the whole time with Simon Yam questioning, "is this real? are these things happening?". I genuinely wanted to know the entire time and wished that Yip was a better cop to figure out the, "murder of men" scheme. I lost myself in the hunt for the answer and not so much in the answer itself. Yam's performance as Yip was a great spin on the usual police affair, because Yip is just an ordinary, curious guy who just happens to be a cop. He's not a super-cop or detective extraordinaire and that makes for a refreshing change. There's also no explosion-laced gunfight with a ring leader face-off at the end either. It's really just a man that wants an answer for himself. He's removed himself from his boring life of dealing with his wife and mother-in-law in order to dive head-first into a shallow case that just happened to be bigger than him. Does that account for boring cinema or boring story-telling? To some, I could see where it would feel as if nothing gets done and no questions get answered, but maybe nothing is all that's meant to happen. (converter)

Buy Exodus on DVD or VCD from YESASIA!

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