Tuesday, December 11, 2007

EXILED

Johnny To's two previous films, Election and Triad Election, were slick genre slices, hour and a half send-ups of American gangsterism (via Hong Kong) that had progressed him past the John Woo worship of his earlier, lighter work.
In interviews, To's ego kind of bothers me. Instead of being humble about his minor talent, To comes off preening as some sort of savior in Eastern cinema. Across the pond, his contemporary, Takeshi Kitano runs circles around To while working within the same genre. Kitano has an understanding of social mores and human conflict that To has lacked....

....until....

Exiled. I was expecting Election 3, but instead, To breaks through with a film about brotherly love within "the brotherhood". The sentiment is tidied up nicely in an excellent photo booth stunt at films end. It's a sight gag that To would have never attempted before. Maybe he watched some of his own DVD interviews (that multimedia mirror that talks back...) and decided to move beyond his blemishes.

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