i'm livin' it 麥路人 (2019) - Hong Kong
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
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Aaron Kwok and Miriam Yeung headlines this well meaning portrayal of homeless people in Hong Kong. Debut director Wong Hing-fan with the support from veteran filmmaker Soi Cheang created a realistic look on the touching and pressing issue that is often ignored by commercial cinema in Hong Kong. Homelessness is a serious concern in all society, but all the more in the most expensive city in the world where inequality and income disparity being at an all time high. In “I’m livin’ it”, Wong never shy away from crucial and pressing moment of social concerns and at times even downright depressing and filled with endless hopelessness. Such is the reality of the Hong Kong, we have all grown to know and the frank portrayal by all the supporting cast and characters, making this film all the more grounded, touching, even if it goes over the top at times.
Aaron Kwok is brilliant as the modern day “king of beggars”, whose former career involved being a successful businessman before falling down due to white collar crime and pending bankruptcy. Kwok plays the character with plenty of innate depth and his rugged looks juxtapose with his persistence to keep wearing the same suit and white shirt, despite dwelling for cover in 24 hours McDonalds. Miriam Yeung plays her best role yet as the supportive love interest who never really gets to romance with the person she wants to be with. Kwok and Yeung display good chemistry and carries the leading roles with plenty of burden.
The supporting act is perhaps the highlight of the film, Alex Man is incredible and scene stealing as the elderly man who lost his wife, Cheung Tat Ming (winning his first Best Supporting Actor trophy) whose drugged outlook shows how difficult it is for society to accept marginalised homelessness. Cya Liu gives a defining and desperate performance as the struggling widow trying to survive the brutal world of familiar realities. Nina Paw gives a good performance as always and Zeno Koo rounds out the outstanding ensemble cast as the rebellious kid turned good.
All in all, “i’m livin’ it” provides relevant insights into the homeless world, even if it does goes over the top in its depiction. It’s a bleak world nonetheless, but one that should not be ignored as it is the same brutal reality that many in Hong Kong currently faces. It’s a city of sadness, hopelessness and bleakness that translate perfecting into this “homeless” world. One aspect making the film even bleaker is the current COVID-19 situation, meaning these same people can now not even “livin’ it” at McDonald’s. Now that is just teary to express.
I rated it 8/10
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Miriam Yeung, Alex Man, Nina Paw, Cheung Tat-ming, Cya Liu, Kathy Wu, Zeno Koo
Director: Wong Hing-fan
Screenwriter: Ja Poon
Producer: Soi Cheang