Man Jeuk (The Sparrow) (Cultured Bird) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Man Jeuk (The Sparrow) (Cultured Bird) Reviews

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December 3, 2015
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.
February 13, 2015
Il arrive qu'un auteur prenne totalement ses spectateurs et fans à contre-pied et livre un de ses films les plus réussis et singuliers de sa filmographie. En effet, Sparrow est aussi drôle que poétique et captivant, contant l'histoire de quatre pickpockets aux prises avec une femme fatale. Sparrow ne recule jamais devant les scènes les plus étranges, refuse même le dialogue pendant de longues plages de 20 minutes, animées par la mise en scène virevoltante d'un Johnnie To plus optimiste que jamais et la musique absolument parfaite de Fred Avril et Xavier Jamaux. Simon Yam est exceptionnel et Lam Suet assure encore un maximum en second rôle. Un délice de 90 minutes.
July 29, 2012
A melange of styles enmeshed in one film, which didn't create as much of a mess as you might think, thanks to the gorgeous palette and cinematography which unifies the film. Part comedy, a touch of Hitchcockian suspense, and - yes - even something reminiscent of an old Western showdown. The soundtrack is as determinedly old-fashioned as the film camera the main character uses, and just as full of charm.
March 11, 2012
A heist movie like no other, with To paying homage to the roaring 60ies, femme fatales and, apparently, fellow director Kar-Way. Culminating in an original burglars showdown: a must see.
½ March 7, 2012
Overrated film. It's nice, funny but too mainstream for me. The plot is rather dumb. Not a must see. You can spare this one.
Super Reviewer
January 28, 2012
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.
September 13, 2011
Except a few important scenes were well directed & designed, plus some captures of Western District scenes in Hong Kong Island, it is generally plain & flat.
½ July 25, 2011
When a director does too many film in one genre, they tend to get stereotyped. Alfred Hitchcock was the "Master of Suspense", but also did other fare in his day. Johnnie To tries something different, a lot lighter in tone and violence than his usual crime thrillers.

A gang of four pickpockets are seduced by one beautiful woman. Then they are systematically hunted and injured by mysterious men who keep tabs on her. As the plot unravels, the more is discovered.

For the most part, the movie is very uninteresting. At least that is, until the final climax scene on the street. The music, camera work and choreography is spectacular in every way.

Without the poetic end, it would have been a dud. I liked it, so I would recommend this to people who like classy and quirky dramas.
½ April 14, 2011
An intrinsically old-fashioned endeavour, its double-crosses and roundelays playing out to a brassy, big-band sound. As ever when he's not at his most forceful, To comes over as a habitual doodler: there's a certain, limited fun to be gleaned from his shots of crooks resting their symmetrically crocked limbs on adjacent chairs, or the sight of suction cups being applied to the rich protector's corpulent form. Again, you sense the director amusing himself above all else, and with isolated ideas, rather than anything especially substantial or coherent: you come away from "Sparrow" remembering the bit with the balloons, the bit with the necklace, or the man with the pipe, without too much understanding of how these elements fitted together. Moderately diverting, but in the end, inessential: you can see why it's been sitting on its distributor's shelf all this while.
March 5, 2011
One morning Kei, a professional pickpocket, notices a sparrow fly into his apartment. He tells his coworkers about the sparrow, whom immediately are convinced that its a bad omen. Late that day, while out picking pockets, or "work", as the men call it, a beautiful woman entrances Kei, who follows her around, trying to learn as much as possible about her. Subsequently, the entire group becomes entranced with her only to be swindled by this femme fatale; who happens to be a professional pickpocket herself. When they confront her, they learn of her relationship with her much older sugar daddy husband, and wow to free her from her proverbial prison. (I really hate writing logline/summaries/whatever). Johnny To's Sparrow is definitely more whimsical and light hearted then most of his work that I have seen. Its got the directors trademark slow motion moments, but its no action film. The film's jazzy piano psuedo-classical scare really sets this tone early. While its an interesting story, it never really grabbed me that much. I think I just didnt really care too much about the girl's situation. The climatic sequence in the rain is vintage Johnny To though, and its easily the best scene in the film. Interesting, I just never got too invested..
November 18, 2010
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August 18, 2010
I really like this film! It's a very light hearted film for Johnny To. The forgotten streets of Hong Kong, particularly in Sheung Wan. I was growing up there. Throughout the film I felt relaxed and sometimes funny. However it is a bit silly at times, but never forget the subject matter is not to take it too seriously. It is another hidden gem of HK cinema, out of the usual gangland, cops, and martial arts genres.
July 17, 2010
I like the movie, and love the old Hongkong ten times more ^^ Think of visiting and staying there for couple days to savoir the cozy street and taste the daily air :)
May 21, 2010
To's obsessions on crime, the living city, malleable morality and double/triple crosses are still here. Thankfully, though, they all take a back seat to a light, classy, and perhaps even fanciful, tone, thanks to simple yet gorgeous cinematography and a brilliant soundtrack. The result is refreshing. Reminds me of something like Burn After Reading, in terms of a creative palate-cleanser.
May 11, 2010
Beautifully done. Love the high art, comedy and somewhat romantic movie. Highly recommended.
May 9, 2010
Johnnie To is so obsessed with the "art of pickpocket".
it's enjoyable enough just to see the amazing pickpocket tenique, the story is okay, but along with some stunishing shots in the film, I will give it three.
Not a plot driven film, just enjoy the style/pretentiousness.
½ April 3, 2010
Some pickpockets trying to free a young woman, "prisoner" of a triad chief / former pickpocket.
Pretty images, pretty actors and pretty music, but is it sufficient? I don't think so. The story lacks of importance, although -as usual- the comradry between the pickpocket team is well rendered, nothing of the level of "The Mission" or "Exiled" is reached.
½ February 20, 2010
Okayish, but falls a little short from being a good movie - worth wasting your time on, not worth the second viewing.
January 26, 2010
"Cultured Bird" hahaha.. OMG that's so bad translation.
Stupid story. Now I know Johnny To also have lots of crap movies.
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