Life Without Principle
Johnnie To
China, Hongkong 2011
107 min

Johnnie To, often considered the last great holdover from Hong Kong’s glory days, generally isn’t referred to as an issues filmmaker. But there is a socially critical subtext to some of his work that comes to the fore in this complex study of how Hong Kongers respond to the global financial meltdown. A bank teller, a loan shark, a gangster and a cop’s family are connected through a crime involving ten million HK dollars; their actions illustrate prevailing values typical in To’s homeland that prove tragicomically insufficient in facing the crisis at hand. The ambitious narrative folds back on itself without warning, but To is so confident in his movement through scenes that even power-point presentations and computer screens sustain the story’s velocity. The film ends with a trifecta of deus ex machina happy endings, but it’s not so much cheap audience gratification as a call-out to Hong Kongers’ Candide-like attitudes towards global problems. The candy coating hides a bitter pill to swallow. (Kevin B. Lee)

  • Richie Jen - Yuen
  • Lo Hoi Pang - M. Fu
  • Philip Keung - Kong Y.W.
  • Lau Ching Wan
  • Denise Ho
  • Myolie Wu
  • So Hang Shuen
  • Milkyway Creative Team
  • Au Kin Yee
  • Wong King Fai
  • Cheng Siu Keung
  • Brian Campbell
  • David M. Richardson
  • Sukie Yip
  • Sukie Yip
Media Asia Films

Media Asia Distribution

Related Movies