Astonishing
Hong Kong 2004
Directed by Herman Yau.


This thriller from Herman Yau asks what would happen if you woke up one day and everyone treated you like you were someone else. Someone you knew. And that person that you knew, is now you, and works at your job, and sleeps with your husband. Do you go mad? Well, yes, probably. This is the fate Christy Cheung tries to avoid, while her husband (Alex Fong), who works at a secret laboratory, for a strange man that no one has ever seen, behaves as though nothing is wrong. It's a conspiracy that suggests a repackaging of recent films THE TRUMAN SHOW and TRANSPARENT. The storyline, though predicatable in its broad strokes, remains sufficiently interesting in the details. Christy Cheung makes for a strong and compelling lead. And finally, Herman Yau's direction and cinematography is most exceptional. Whereas with most films Yau is content with technical excellence, here he reaches for some artistic flourish, with encouraging results. He often sets up shots which track the protagonists from a distance, or through a pane of glass, increasing the feeling of isolation throughout. The result is a thriller that is more thoughtful and well executed than most. Sammo Hung appears briefly as the manager of a retirement home.

Rating: Recommended (Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on December 22, 2004.


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