Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
There is something extremely outright depressing in “KJ” Director Cheung King Wai’s latest film “Somewhere Beyond the Mist”. In fact, redemption is kept to be minimal as we witness how simple minded people can do wicked actions due to the circumstances that they have been thrown upon and in this case, a troubled pair of youth. We get an engrossing tale of problems for the underprivileged as well as a glimpse of Hong Kong middle class struggling with issues of their own, old age, relationships and pending birth. All these stories intertwine within their own stories as we see first hand how the protagonist pregnant police officer (played against type by the ever improving Stephy Tang) juxtaposed with the murder crime committed by mentally scarred and abused teenager (played terrifically by Rachel Leung).
Stephy Tang shows maturity in her acting spectrum as she continues her journey to be taken seriously as a recognised actress. Tang manages to carry the film on her shoulders with subtle glances and performances especially well in confrontational scenes with her ill father in law (played by Wong Sheu Tong) and her conflicted emotions when dealing with the case of Rachel Leung. Leung simply steals all the scenes and with her constant subdued looks makes a simple young girl on the outlook becomes equally complex and layered in her feelings. Upbringing is crucial to how someone is shaped by their circumstances and Director Cheung is unafraid to not be judgemental and rather let the events and situations play for themselves.
All in all, “Somewhere Beyond the Mist” is an extremely dark dark film that defies any sort of redemption or hope. It’s uninspiring in its depicting of the future and it translate the mood directly to the audience. We feel gutted as bystanders who cannot help the proceedings and the happenings onscreen. Just as we feel helpless for Rachel Leung, we equally feel for Stephy Tang, whose problems seem to be drowned out by the dire situations that engulfed Leung’s youth. It’s rare that a local Hong Kong film can be so dark and uncompromising and its unlikely you will walk out unaffected one way or another.
I rated it 8/10