having her husband leave following her mastectomy, Judy (Sandra
Ng) takes up residence with her somewhat senile Grandfather.
A rather barren and uneventful life is soon brightened upon the
arrival of small-time hood Jordan, played by Francis
Following a number of scrapes with local triad boss NT On, Jordan
finds himself in the unique position of being able to halve his
debt by caring for NT's illegitimate 6-month old child.
Having barely grown up himself, Jordan is paired with the far more
responsible Judy, and as their love for the child blossoms, so do
their feelings for each other.
What appears to be an uplifting romantic drama, then turns to something
far more serious as the film's final act draws near. Not wanting
to sound like a wet blanket, but what the hell, the tragic end to
the film reversed some of my hugely positive feelings towards the
However, on further viewing these feelings lessened, and I came
to appreciate some of the film's subtler aspects, but I wasn't able
to fully shake my initial disappointment.
Looking at the positive aspects, the two leads are quite superb
as they go about fleshing-out their differing characters.
Once again, Francis Ng provides a magnetic,
nuanced performance, whilst also making his character warm and human.
Ng is fast becoming one of my favourite performers, as unlike many
Hong Kong actors, he seems willing to undertake an eclectic range
of roles, rather than being content with typecasting.
It becomes perfectly evident that Jordan's natural affinity with
children stems from the fact that he's yet to grow up himself. Francis
Ng manages to show this, and great range of emotions, with a
single glance, and the camera is often left to focus on his expressive
eyes. Jordan is also far from one dimensional, thanks to Ng's ability
to convey more than his sparse dialogue would allow under a less
Ng is also hugely impressive as Judy - a woman who has been
heartbroken, let down and unappreciated, and now expects nothing
from her life.
Fortunately, Jordan's tragic childhood, and upbeat personality persuade
Judy that she is not unique in having lived a hard life, and that
better things are still to come...
The supporting cast, including Judy's Coca-Cola addicted Grandfather,
are also clearly defined characters, with important parts to play
in this quality production.
Musically, the film also excels, with some simple yet elegant pieces
The only somewhat disappointing inclusion is the Cantopop number
used halfway through. It's a rather insipid track, which adds nothing
to the scene.
Director Wilson Yip manages to direct
with an assured ease, and whilst not going overboard, is happy to
include flourishes which add to this moving tale.
A highly detailed, and
impressively coloured transfer is provided by Mei-Ah.
The artifacting so often noticeable on many of their previous discs,
has been drastically reduced, leaving an altogether more professional
Black levels are surprisingly solid, although shadow detail appears
to be rather muted.
The one factor which reduces the picture's rating is that (strangely
for such a recent film) certain parts of the print look rather drab
and are marked with dust and sparkles.
original Surround-sound soundtrack is provided alongside Mei-Ah's
5.1 remix, and both sound very good.
A louder, and more solid sound is produced by the original soundtrack,
but it lacks some of the more obvious directional effects exhibited
on the remix.
Dialogue is mostly clear and hiss-free, although some of the musical
instruments used to score the film can occasionally sound shrill.
of grammatical and spelling errors find their way into the otherwise
Very little of the dialogue is simplified, although the white font's
extremely thin black border can sometimes cause problems, particularly
when placed against light-coloured backgrounds.
Cast and Crew listing.
Peace Hotel trailer.
won't lie and say that this 2000 production is a total triumph,
as I still feel its downbeat conclusion was rather unnecessary,
but neither will I be so narrow-minded as to suggest that this ruins
an otherwise exceptionally acted, and genuinely moving, film.
The low price for which this DVD can be picked up, and
Mei-Ah's nicely handled transfer, leaves
little reason to pass it up...so don't!