Floating City (2012) - Hong Kong
80s New Wave veteran director Yim Ho's 13th film is a flawed, but appreciated look at Hong Kong history through the rise of a mixed half-breed British-Hong Kong man from the Tanka fishing village to the top executive in a White dominated British East India Company prior to the 1997 handover. Political undertones are obvious, but at its core it is about change, exploration and a rare modern film highlighting this historical insight of Hong Kong people. Director Ho stays true to his persona style of telling social stories and portrayal of human characters. The result is mixed, often crucial characters' relationships left unexplored and probably an hour too short to be fully emotive and truly connecting.
Aaron Kwok takes on the lead role as the half-breed, whilst his underacting works to a certain degree, Kwok looks nothing like a mixed race and in turn making it difficult for him to provide a deeper insight into his inner emotions and turmoil. Flaring far better are the supporting characters, namely the mother played expertly by veteran Paw Hee Ching, his suffering wife played by Charlie Yeung and his business partner played so beautifully by Annie Liu. In the trio, the audience get well rounded surrounding an average Kwok's performance.
All in all, Floating City may not entirely succeeds in achieving every details and moments it is setting out to do, but it remains extremely relevant, learning and important. It is now a bygone era, but it should not be forgotten. The change, the adversity, the times and every details Yim Ho manages to show should be complimented. Films like these are rare and like Ann Hui's outputs, it is to be appreciated.
I rated it 3.75/5
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