G Affairs G殺 (2018) Review

The letter “G” takes centre stage in Lee Cheuk-Pan’s feature-length directorial debut, formerly an assistant director for movies like Yesterday You, Yesterday Me <記得…香蕉成熟時3為妳鍾情> (1997) and Undercover Hidden Dragon <至尊無賴> (2006).

The “G” in question refers to the aptly-titled G Affairs <G殺>, a mystery-drama of sorts told in a non-linear fashion. It all begins promisingly with an impressive opening scene shot in a tight 4:3 ratio while the camera rotates at an unbroken 360-degree angle: a teenager (Lam Sen’s Tai) practising Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major”; a half-naked prostitute approaching to answer the front door before a man (Chapman To’s Master Lung) pulled her back into the living room; a subsequent sex scene on the couch; and finally, something shocking smashed through the window.

The movie basically focuses on five characters: the corrupt cop nicknamed Master Lung, the aspiring cellist Tai, Lung’s estranged teenage daughter Yu Ting (Hanna Chan), Lung’s prostitute girlfriend Li Xiaomei (Huang Lu), Yu Ting’s autistic classmate Don (Kyle Li) and Christian teacher Markus (Alan Luk), in which Yu Ting has an ocassional oral-sex affair with him.

Then, of course, the letter “G” that make up for each different word pops up on the screen every now and then. This includes everything from G-cups to gun and gonorrhoea.

Mind you that G Affairs <G殺> is definitely not your average mystery drama. It’s more of a movie heavy on sociopolitical symbolism and subtexts under the guise of a pretentious arthouse drama. The decision of shooting the film in a non-linear method is supposed to be intriguing but most of the time, it felt like Lee Cheuk-Pan is trying too hard to impress us — well, at least for me — with the fragmented and jumbled-up narrative.

Whereas Kurt Chiang Chung-Yu’s overall screenplay and Lee Cheuk-Pan’s equally self-indulgent direction didn’t really work out as well as I thought, G Affairs <G殺> remains an excellent acting showcase for the young up-and-coming actors. This includes Hanna Chan’s impressive lead performance as Yu Ting, whose previous breakthrough acting debut in Wilson Yip’s Paradox <殺破狼.貪狼> wasn’t a fluke after all. Others include Lam Sen and Kyle Li (Yam-San) who plays Tai and Don equally deserve praises in their respective roles.

The movie is also notable for Chapman To’s allegedly final acting performance before he shifted his focus entirely by appearing in his own online late-night talk/cooking shows. Here, he plays his same old self that is basically right in the actor’s wheelhouse. The rest of the actors including Alan Luk’s perverted teacher-role as Markus and Huang Lu’s spot-on mainland prostitute role both deliver solid supports. The latter earned a well-deserved Hong Kong Film Awards nomination in the Best Supporting Actress role, even though she lost to Kara Wai in Tracey <翠絲>.

Apart from the aforementioned unbroken 360-degree opening scene, kudos also go to Karl Tam’s perfectly atmospheric cinematography and Lee Cheuk-Pan’s arresting visual stylings.

THREE-stars

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