Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Night Corridor (2003)

Unnerving and disorienting story of a man named Sam Yuen who returns to Hong Kong to see his brother after he's been put into a coma by an accident. Arriving home he finds that his brother has died, and his mother has remarried. No one will speak to him directly and the best that he can get from most people is that he should simply return to London. It isn't long before Sam realizes that nothing and no one is who they appear to be.

This is essentially a European style Gothic film that feels similar to films like Rosemary's Baby, Angel Heart, Skeleton Key, or The Ninth Gate ,but made in China. Hong Kong feels more like a European city than a jewel of the Orient. It's a disconcerting feel that puts you on edge from the start, and one that only gets worse thanks to the twists and turns of the plot. The plot is labyrinthine in its construction and is designed to drop you, along with Sam, through its twists in such a way that you end up doubting who everyone is...even Sam. The film may be a bit TOO twisty for its own good, but for the most part it works leaving you praying for the sun light and something happier.

I admire this film a great deal, however I'm not sure to what degree I like it. Certainly it's a good film but I wonder if it's trying to cover too much territory (perception, pedophilia, repressed homosexuality, identity, horror) in its brief 75 minute running time. I'm not sure it all works, other than as a disorienting ride. I'm also not sure if the ending works.

Worth a look especially if you like mind games over gore, or want to see a Hong Kong film that simply doesn't feel like one.

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