peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 12 27 Election

Election (2005)

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Another Hong Kong classic. I've had enough of the John Woo ultraviolence for the moment. This one is closer to The Godfather: a triad/society is having an election! — and the police, they just want some peace. Directed by Johnnie To, written by Nai-Hoi Yau and Tin-Shing Yip.

It has its moments, especially early on when we're meeting the protagonists with some great interior cinematography. I found it a little tricky to understand who was fronting for whom which was perhaps intended. At some point everyone gets locked up and it becomes a matter of who's holding the Chairman's McGuffin. This is poorly handed as there's no authentication of it or the holder of it, or even why it matters at all; it's not supernatural and once the elected chairman gets it it's gone. No matter; perhaps I'll find out in the sequel.

The cast is good. Simon Yam plays one of the candidates, a calm measured man (Michael Corlene) up against hot-headed "Big D" Tony Ka Fai Leung (Sonny) who is the only bloke with a wife, Maggie Siu. Louis Koo looks like and has the gravitas of David Bowie. (Apparently he was a producer on The Mitchells vs the Machines.) Ultraorthodox foot soldier Nick Cheung apparently rides a CBR400; his early scene where he eats a spoon is very amusing. Tian-Lin Wang anchors things ala Brando.

Just two stars from Peter Bradshaw. A. O. Scott: a critic's pick!