Thursday, March 29, 2007

[HKIFF] The Pye-Dog (野良犬) (World Premiere)

I'm Your Benefactor

The Pye-Dog, produced by Teddy Robin and written and directed by Derek Kwok, contained all the necessary ingredients for a story of friendship and camaraderie between a man and a boy. Both orphans, they bond together through school, but a secret one of them has of his true intentions threaten that established friendship, with a questioning of loyalties.

Eason Chan plays Dui, an orphan with a creative mind, brought up with incredible smarts for fixing and assembling things. Taken in by the thugs (Eric Tsang in a role with long shoulder length hair), he's assigned to find and kidnap the child of the hitman who tried to bump off their leader, in a revenge mission. Given little leads except for the school and name of the hitman, he's packed off to the school in disguise as a janitor, and through the course of his investigations, gets to know an unusual teacher, Miss Cheung (Gia Lin), who is more than meets the eye.

Wen Jun Hui plays Lam Chi Wang, whose father (George Lam in a comeback role) has left the family, and whose mother committed suicide. Living with his grandma, he has taken a vow of silence, refusing to utter a word, but only hums music. We do hear him talk though, but it's through narration, as we listen in to his thoughts.

Told in distinct chapters as outlined by the intertitles, you might already realise from the onset what Fate has in store for our new found friends. Dui takes it upon himself to care for Chi Wang, and is faced with the dilemma of forgoing gratitude towards a benefactor's assistance when he's down and out, for newer bonds where he's looked up to.

With little dialogue, Wen Jun Hui put on a credible, likeable performance as a boy who's reintroduced to a father he never knew, and an attachment to a new surrogate dad Dui. Eason Chan surprisingly gave a convincing, dramatic show as a boy who never grew up, maturing as the story develops. It's refreshing too to witness the return of George Lam after a long hiatus, and even though he comes in about midway through the movie.

While Pye-Dog doesn't offer any particular "wow" factor, this movie is well shot and well acted, featuring a good balance of performances between veterans and pop idols.

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