Posted in *Recommended, Fantasia 2015, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Port of Call Fantasia 2015 review [Recommended]

port-of-callPort of Call / 踏血寻梅 / Daap6 Hyut3 Cam4 Mui4 (2015)
Director: Philip Yung
Screenplay: Philip Yung
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Jessie Li, Elaine Jin, Michael Ning, Patrick Tam

This is a sad, depressing movie but also quite engaging. This should be no surprise since the film focuses on the grisly murder of a 16 year old girl who was chopped to bits. The crime is based on a real life murder from 2008. Detective Chong is a veteran detective who’s tasked to investigate the crime, there is no body but the large amounts of blood indicate a death. Finding the body would be difficult but then the killer turns himself in and proves that he is indeed the real killer by indicating where he dumped the body parts. But it does not end there as something about the case causes Detective Chong to investigate further despite his colleagues telling him to close the case. Various flashbacks occur throughout the film showing moments from both the victim and the killer’s pasts and eventually how they came to meet.

Often in crime films either the killer or victim is one dimensional or practically unknown but in this film, moments in the lives of the characters are shown and we really get to know their feelings and struggles. While we ultimately may not understand them, we can see their pain and loneliness and how it informs not only the motivation for the murder but also the means of it. This is perhaps what is most compelling and maybe a bit surprising about the film. To speak more of it would really spoil the experience. It would not be possible if the acting was not strong. While he’s almost 50 now, Aaron Kwok is still a good looking HK popstar but you wouldn’t know it from his look and performance in the film. There’s a small subplot with Chong’s own daughter and ex-wife which goes to explain his continued obsession with the case. The young actors who portray the victim and killer also give amazing performances with nuances.

There are scenes that are sad but also happy scenes and grisly, stomach turning scenes. The film does not shy away from showing bits of the gory murder but in reality it’s the killer’s description of the murder on video that elicits as much if not more uncomfortable, squeamish feelings. There is also some female nudity in the brief sex scenes. This is not an easy film to watch. It certainly takes its time but it never feels sluggish and it elicits strong emotions in its examination of younger people. For that I give it a high recommendation.

Seen in the theatre at Fantasia 2015

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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