Employs a patient, discontinuous narrative structure which intrepidly traverses familiar terrain - the rape/revenge archetype - with an assured focus on the insidious effects unresolved trauma can inflict on the psyche. Absolutely brutal when it needs to be, and in this memorable, intentionally disjointed sequence of revenge, the filmmakers reveal the social inequities that persist in society when it comes to gender and the body. A film that implicitly reminds us that genre in itself is a fabrication that necessitates the desire for classification, Violation is as astute when it comes to cultural critique as any "prestige" drama that comes to mind for me in recent memory. While the formalist style borders on self-indulgent, and one could certainly argue it would have been better suited in a leaner, straightforward structure, Violation remains an impressive work that subverts simplistic treatments of the rape-revenge narrative archetype in its deployment of a fractured narrative with an acute sense for the nature of trauma.
A quintessential text of 1980s Hong Kong. The parental custody battle that rests at the fulcrum of All About Ah-Long's story serves as a sweeping allegorical device in which big emotional melodrama is paired with class commentary in a way that slyly elucidates the distinct and constantly shifting cultural identity of Hong Kong. The social and economic effects of Diaspora aren't presented in any net positive or negative connotation; Chow Yun-Fat's lower-class character and loving father is deeply flawed. Chang's wealthy diasporic Hong Konger is successful and more put-together. They both recognize the advantageous nature of wealth for their son yet there is an understated unease of the insipid effect wealth can have on their son's identity and character. While the text in some ways is a tale of custody, All About Ah-Long is really a film that wrestles with the soul of Hong Kong itself. Nothing is assured, and I think in a sense that is the point, the denouement being a melodramatic gut-punch in which To seems to suggest the problems themselves are social though they remain supplanted by the economic which dictates so much. Big melodrama, a subtle and not-so-subtle commentary on class, and Chow Yung-Fat's killer hair - This may be To's first great film in the director's chair, though I still need to see a few.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.