Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The High Cost of Living

Got Gun Got Action OK?

Just to share some quick thoughts on this new local movie. As you would've known by now, I've taken a keen interest in Singapore films, past and present. I got to admit this one was flying under my radar, and I didn't notice it until The Picturehouse publicized it in one of its recent email newsletters. The poster caught my eye, because it had a handgun on it. Sure you can laugh, but seriously, when was the last time you heard of a local action movie (and those co-produced by Mediacorp Raintree don't count)?

And this is a very different local movie altogether. Without the coffeeshop talk, sans slapstick humour, or social commentary. It reminds you of some of the older Hong Kong action movies, the cops and robbers ones, which were popular in the 1980s. Finally someone had taken up the challenge to do something in a familiar genre with a touch of fantasy put in, especially when one sets it in Singapore.

Directed by first time director Leonard Lai, he has presented a movie which is dead serious, telling a story in a very mature, adult manner. It doesn't take a mickey out of things, nor introduce unnecessarily funny characters. The High Cost of Living is about two professional killers on opposite sides of the law, and it dwells on the theme of Choice, on the decisions we make, and the consequences of such decisions, good or bad.

If there would be drawbacks, it would probably be the lack of a powerful soundtrack to accompany the interesting visuals, which used different hues to accentuate the different settings and characters. At times though, some actors look particularly wooden, but I'd like to attribute that to the nature of their characters, as they get drawn into a complex cat and mouse game which they have no idea who's on the right, or wrong side of the law.

There are many characters in the movie, and while it may be a bit confusing at first, they each serve a purpose in the plot, as they contribute in their own way to an adequately tension-filled finale scene, where everything comes together for that all important revelation, and final opportunity for everyone to try and do something right.

In any case, you can read my alternate review at movieXclusive by clicking on the logo below

The High Cost of Living opens exclusively at The Picturehouse from August 17. It's really a totally different flavour of a local film altogether, and you just got to see to believe!

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