Man Jeuk (The Sparrow) (Cultured Bird) (2008)
Critic Reviews for Man Jeuk (The Sparrow) (Cultured Bird)
An action film without guns or even that much violence, it unfurls like an elegant ballet.
Has a feather-light plot that flies in the face of credibility, but contains all the right components for an entertaining hit, like gracefully choreographed action sequences by martial arts veteran Yuen Biao, and a well-assembled cast.
Yam's easy charm holds the pic together, and supports are are all solid, with Lam standing out among the sparrows and the Mandarin-speaking Lin fine as the skittish but crafty Chun-lei.
The slow-burn of a cigarette in a lip-glossed mouth, the languid sprawl of Hong Kong, and a jazzy, bluesy soundtrack give this Cantonese drama an arty insouciance.
Clearly a labour of love.
Audience Reviews for Man Jeuk (The Sparrow) (Cultured Bird)
Not my favorite Johnny To, mainly because of setting of the characters (pickpockets) and the casting, but it still does show To's matureness as a film auteur as well as some recent works of him. What To achieves lately is really mature mise-en-scene, in other words, the way of creating the original atmosphere in the pictures. Especially in this film, use of music and shots of night, rainy Hong Kong city are superb (it also works as an homage to old Hollywood films), although some parts are set-up too much and look too comical. Moreover, setting pickpockets as main characters and describing them as a certain kind of skilled workers make you feel somewhat out of place and not comfortable (morally) throughout the film (although I don't know why I feel so on pickpockets and do not on gangsters...). Simon Yam shows some new attractions with this role. The heroin, Kelly Lin, is too inconspicuous.
Quite slow and not the easiest to follow, but the scene at the end with no speaking is very well done and makes the movie worth a look. Also very nicely filmed street shots and I liked the black and white photography.
To never fails to bring a smile to my face, even when the plot is not making a lot of sense. Simon Yam has more charisma, screen persona and acting skills than all hollywood put together. Also, weird to see Ka Tung Lam not playing a villian.
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