驚心動魄
Astonishing (2004)


Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 02/07/2006
Summary: scenario full of suspense

Herman Yau Lai-To always impress's me as a film artist who loves to shoot film, to work through his camera eye. His films are full of the energy that is drawn from a man who clearly loves what he is doing.

Astonishing is one of his films that exude this energy. Yau gets to explore some thematic areas that have popped up in other films he's made in his almost 20 year career. He gets to direct a couple of top actors here and he gets the most out of his two stars. Alex Fong Chung-Sun gives a strong performance, as always. Beautiful Christy Chung Lai-Tai carries the film while the director makes love to her with a Chapman Crane. Swooping tracking shots and voyeuristic camera angles keep the whole scenario full of suspense. Watch for Sammo Hung Kam-Bo and Wayne Lai Yiu-Cheung in a couple of creepy supporting roles.

happyfortune.org

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/18/2005
Summary: 5/10

Not so much ASTONISHING as KIND OF SURPRISING AND A BIT CONFUSING, I'd say. Basically a come-back vehicle for Christy Chung, who has been out of the limelight for quite a while despite early efforts to shake off her flower-vase image with more 'mature' roles in JAN DARA and SAMSARA. Here, Christy is the focus of the film for 90% of the running time, and sadly fails to live up to the challenge of portraying a woman going through stress and descending into madness.

Alex Fong provides fairly solid backing, but Christy's unconvincing performance and the implausible plot-line leave ASTONISHING feeling a bit like a 'damp squib' (whatever one of those actually is).

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 04/09/2005
Summary: admirable effort

I enjoyed this one trenmendously. There exists a review on Geocities that I think nails the point of the film. To paraphrase that review, this movie seems to raise more questions than explain solutions. It raises several disturbing (at least thought-provoking) concepts: the notion of an identity not belonging to the self but to the people around the self; and the possibility of some psychotic scientist who views human life as merely object for experiment and will not think twice about ruining one's life. In this respect the human life is no more valuable than that of lab rats. When a person as experimental subject has been pushed too far, she can no regain a normal life.

The "ending" was mighty confusing, but I like the notion of presenting several possible endings and let the viewer read what he will. It fits the model of a film that raises questions. In this respect, I consider Astonishing a real mystery film -- as opposed to so-called mystery films which are really solutions films for leaving zero question unexplained.