peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2024 05 10 TheGoldfinger

The Goldfinger (2023)

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Writer/director Felix Chong hit the big time when he wrote Infernal Affairs. Twenty years later here he is, repaying Scorcese's cloning of his masterwork by cloning Scorcese's The Wolf of Wall Street with the two leads of his earlier hit. Over a few sittings.

Tony Leung leads as an engineer turned property speculator in late 1970s to mid 1990s Hong Kong. He falls into a pot of money and becomes more crooked as time goes on, staying ahead of the law and keeping them away from his shady backers while attracting a bunch of amoral operators who love money. Andy Lau heads an ICAC taskforce that spends a decade or more trying to fry Leung. Things move dutifully from set piece to set piece with little to no explanation of anything. I found it difficult to follow the financial shenanigans. Much is made of sticking it to the Brits but confusingly they do seem particularly unhappy about it. There's a massive loss of momentum once we get to the courtroom scenes.

Leung has almost no lines (just punchlines) and spends most of his time pulling a variety of faces, most of which are variants of smirks. Andy Lau is mostly inert and is saddled with too many completely thankless cliched scenes with the wife and children. Anthony Pun's fancy cinematography is all smooth surfaces and soulless CGI.

Two stars of five from Wendy Ide. Cath Clarke: also Goodfellas. Two stars of four from Peter Sobczynski at Roger Ebert's website: also Goodfellas. (The smooth editing got me thinking of Casino.) Incidents don't amount to a story.