等候董建華發落 (2001)
From the Queen to the Chief Executive


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 07/03/2002
Summary: Excellent

With out a doubt, this is the finest film I have seen from Herman Yau ever, and one of the best films from last year (2001). It’s no surprise if you have seen Sentenced To Hang (which Yau was also involved in) and see many similarities, as this is clearly based on a similar story with the same portrayal of criminals being held to be punished perhaps unfairly (at least the under-aged boys anyway), due to British law before 1997. As the last reviewer mentioned, it is very surprising to see Herman Yau doing such a realistic drama instead of his usual cheap comedies or tacky horror films, it really does amaze me.

The entire cast is excellent, and surprisingly again (especially for Herman Yau), all of the characters are brought to life as it were, and the perfect amount of time on each character is balanced perfectly with the rest of the story, leaving not much to go wrong, even though some scenes are quite brutal and upsetting. All very realistic enough though to believe.

I’m pleased to say that this is a very good film, and if more producers and directors took their time over films with better ideas like Herman has, then the HK film industry has much to look forward to still.

Overall, one of the best productions from last year, coming close in my opinion to Peony Pavilion, which was my favourite 2001 film.

[5/5]


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 03/19/2002
Summary: Excellent

One of the hardest things to do in creating a socially aware film is getting your point across without beating it over your viewer's head -- to not turn your movie into grandstanding or propaganda. From the Queen to the Chief Executive takes place shortly before the 1997 handover to China (hence the title), where a young woman (Ai Ching) has developed a pen-pal relationship with a convict (David Lee), and enlists the help of a sympathetic senator (Tang Su Wing) to help out the cause of getting him paroled. The film does a surprisingly excellent job in presenting the travails of a group of prisoners who were incarcerated as minors and detained at "Her Majesty's discretion," meaning that they have no set sentence for their crimes. This is surprising (at least to this reviewer) since the movie was directed by Herman Yau, best known for over-the-top horror movies like The Untold Story.

What sets From the Queen to the Chief Executive apart from similar films about prisioners like The Shawshank Redemption or Prison on Fire is that nothing is black or white. Everything is painted in shades of grey. At first, this might prove off-putting to the viewer, as it seems hard to find a sympathetic character in the movie. For instance, even though Ai Ching's character seems sweet and naive, she tried to kill her aunt as a teenager. Tang is dedicated to his job, but ignores or is abusive to his own family. And the brutality of Lee's crime (participating in a rape/murder case) cannot be underestimated. Even though the movie is really not all that violent (especially in the world of prison films), the flashback segements which show the crime definitely have Yau's horror influence on them and are genuinely unsettling. Despite this, Yau manages to create characters which the viewer can develop attachments to, if they allow themselves to do so.

From the Queen to the Chief Executive is a film that rewards multiple viewings, not because of splashy special effects or twisted story lines, but because of characterization. This is a relatively simple part of film that many directors choose to ignore, and From the Queen to the Chief Executive is a refreshing return to a time when a good story was the cornerstone of a film, not its' budget or star. As Hong Kong tries to find its' place in the new global movie market, perhaps they should look more to films like this -- ones that take on Chinese issues while still having a universal message -- instead of big-budget Hollywood wannabes.

While it seems most anyone can slap some special effects and good-looking actors together, it takes something else to create a film which sticks in your mind afterwards. Even though I found myself on the opposite side of many of the characters, From the Queen to the Chief Executive still was a thought-provoking a moving film that warrants a viewing even if serious dramatic movies aren't your cup of tea.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]