Calling Johnnie To‘s film Life Without Principle a ‘thriller’ may be slightly off-base, but there is a deep tension at the heart of the movie. The story follows people in several economic spheres: a bank worker, a ‘regular’ citizen, and a Triad gangster, and watches as each tries to navigate the Hong Kong economy after the market crash.
By all accounts based on reviews out of TIFF last year, the film misses the mark when it comes to the big dramatic thrust, focusing instead on a lot of granular detail about actual economic matters. But praise has been aimed at the performances from Lau Ching-wan and Denise Ho. And while To’s movies do occasionally miss the forest for the trees, he’s almost always able to create a couple memorable sequences in any given film.
Indeed, the new US trailer for Life Without Principle is, at the very least, a really well-crafted piece of work. I get the idea that it doesn’t represent the movie very honestly, but since watching the trailer will cost nothing but a couple minutes, you’ve got nothing to lose by enjoying it below. Read More »
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The last competition slot in the Venice Film Festival has now been taken: Life Without Principle, the latest film from prolific Hong Kong director Johnnie To, will now be programmed alongside much-anticipated films like Carnage, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Shame, and Alps.
If the punning title didn’t already give you the heads-up, Life Without Principle appears to be a multi-strand thriller with roots in the recent economic crisis. A trailer has been kicking around for a while, originally premiering on Facebook. I was sure we’d run it, mostly because I’m always eager to check out a new To film. But we never did, so have a look at the brief teaser after the break. More story info and the film’s currency-influenced poster await as well. Read More »
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Johnnie To may be one of the most prolific Hong Kong directors working today, having directed at least two films a year since the early 90s, but he’s also one of the most important. With John Woo and many other prominent HK directors crossing the waters to direct films in America during the 90s, things back home started to get a bit stale, especially when it came to modern-day crime films. Johnnie To helped rejuvenate Hong Kong cinema with some stellar crime and action films (see The Mission and Fulltime Killer), and he’s only gotten better over time. 2006′s Exiled (now available on Netflix Watch Instantly) is a prime example of his dedication to characters, slick action, and all-out baddassery.
Now we have a trailer for his upcoming film Vengeance, and it surely doesn’t disappoint. The film stars French actor/musician Johnny Hallyday (wearing the Charles Bronson mask well, I might add), and To regulars Simon Yam and Anthony Wong. If you’ve seen any major HK films in the past ten years, you’ll probably recognize the latter two.
A father comes to Hong Kong to avenge his daughter whose family was murdered. Officially he’s a French chef. Twenty years ago, he was a killer.
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