Heroes of the East

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Heroes of the East

Film discussion and banter

    Inner Senses (2002: Law Chi-leung: Hong Kong)


    Posts : 401
    Join date : 2011-02-16
    Location : Modesto, CA

    Inner Senses (2002: Law Chi-leung: Hong Kong) Empty Inner Senses (2002: Law Chi-leung: Hong Kong)

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:25 pm

    first draft. First paragraph continues with the month long horror/suspense related films. I will modify this hopefully later. I'm going to look for additional information to add as well.

    For the tenth pick of the month I thought a psychological ghost story would be a good pick. The Sixth Sense (1999) had been a hit worldwide and had certainly inspired a wave in Hong Kong of “I see dead people” related films from this to later the same year The Eye (and eventually several sequels) and the spoof My Left Eye Sees Ghosts (Johnnie To, Wai Ka-fai). While the similarities are there with The Sixth Sense, often some of these movies like this one and The Stir of Echoes (1999) have been unfairly stigmatized because they have come later.

    Jim Law (Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing: Happy Together) is a workaholic psychiatrist who spends his free time either swimming or studying the piles of patient files and books in his home. He takes on a case as a favor for another doctor Wilson Chan (Waise Lee: The Big Heat). Chan’s relative Cheung Yan (Karena Lam: July Rhapsody) lives alone just recently moved into an apartment (somewhat reminiscent of Dark Water (2002)) and sees ghosts. Unfortunately the landlord lost his wife and child to a landslide and expects them back. So he constantly makes food for them and has their shoes ready as well. This is not good for an already fragile ego.

    But Dr. Law is quite good at what he does. He is able to get to the psychological problems of Yan, though at first causing even more problems, and help her tame her demonic subconscious. She is cured and is able to get on with life. He has proved to her that there are no ghosts. However, just as she is able to get on with life he starts to see an apparition that begins haunting him.

    I enjoyed this film quite a bit and really loved the ending. It is a psychological thriller film first and ghost story second. It is not overly scary, but effective for what it is trying to accomplish. Just as you think you are following a tired plot it brings a new look and feel to the ghost story and handles it with more intelligence than many of this genre. It is a film first about flawed individuals and how their lives parallel each other. I had a few issues with the score overdoing a string instrument at times of heightened excitement. I thought the main performances were good and that Law Chi-leung’s direction is solid (he would be nominated for Hong Kong Film Awards Best Director and would win Best New Director) if not superlative. I liked the fact that he did not overdo the CGI and what is used looks good.

    There are disturbing real-life associations with the film that are unfortunate. This was the lead actor Leslie Cheung (Farewell my Concubine) last film before his suicide the following year. While there are strong parallels between the ending and his death, his passing would take place over a year after the filming of this movie. Cheung was becoming more depressed as time went on and was also choosing more difficult characters to portray, as opposed to his many earlier pretty-boy roles, like his psychiatrist here and his pushed-over-the-edge marksman in Double Tap (2000: Law Chi-leung). His gamble paid off with the critics as he was nominated as best actor for both the Golden Horse and Hong Kong Film Awards for his Dr. Law performance. It is doleful that the world lost an(other) excellent actor who had a brilliant career ahead and it would have been interesting to see how he handled aging with more mature roles.

    I viewed this on the R0 Tai Seng release. It has Cantonese (the original language) and Mandarin dubs. It has a short 11 minute “Making Of” featurette, original trailer and some in depth filmographies. The picture looks good and the subtitles seem to be correctly translated.

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