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Original Title:
Fuk sau che chi sei

Hong Kong 2010

Thriller, Drama

Wong Ching-Po

Juno Mak
Sora Aoi
Chin Siu-Ho
Lau Wing
Tony Ho

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Revenge: A Love Story

Story: Chan Kit (Juno Mak) kills two police officers and their pregnant wives. He removes the babies out of the women's wombs and leaves the victims to bleed to death. The investigating officer in the case Jeff (Chin Siu-Ho) can catch the serial killer eventually and questions him. However, he should actually already remember him. Kit was an ordinary man half a year ago, who was in love with the slightly mentally retarded Cheung Wing (Sora Aoi). After the death of Wing's grandmother she is brought into a foster home where she is treated inhumanely. Kit takes her with him and they find shelter at a neighbor of Wing's grandmother. There Wing is almost raped by a drunk guy (Lau Wing). Kit manages to overpower him and takes Wing to the next police station. In the end, it turns out that the drunk guy is a police officer himself. Since Wing is mistaken for a prostitute she is raped at the police station. Kit is beaten up and thrown into jail with false accusations. But half a year later he is free and seeking revenge.

Review: There are extraordinary movies that are memorable simply because of their style. "Revenge: A Love Story" is a gritty thriller that breaks with certain viewing habits and yet isn't really a B-movie thanks to its outstanding directing. And this even though the film would have been predestined to only entertain genre fans had it been made with a lower budget and by the hands of a less skilled director. The second film of the production company 852 after "Dream Home" cofounded by Josie Ho is still brutal but no gore fest. Instead we get an extremely tense thriller that uses its atmosphere very well and by that also tries to be an anti-revenge movie. Latter one with little success but the rest is absolutely convincing.

The movie starts with Kit's brutal murder. But who really is the monster here? That's not as easy to pinpoint as it might seem at first. After the introduction we are presented with Kit's life in a flashback and this in fact involves a love story. Here the film plays on a more emotional level and we are taken in by the characters to that degree that we really suffer alongside them. The gruesome monster Kit is a nice boy who shares an innocent love with the retarded girl Wing. Those of you who recognize Wing should be ashamed of themselves (well, or not...) because the Japanese adult video actress Sora Aoi is embodying the character. She doesn't actually have to deliver anything great but what skills she shows is convincing enough nonetheless.

Sora Aoi in her first real role in a Chinese movie is only but the tip of the iceberg of oddities in "Revenge: A Love Story". The film is divided into several chapters which are all supposed to get a profound meaning through some headline or text boards. But here one of the movie's obvious weaknesses becomes apparent. Director Wong Ching-Po ("Jiang Hu") tries too hard to write some great meaningness into the story from Juno Mak. This doesn't work out that much and especially the ending becomes rather strange because of that. On the other hand it's just these oddities that make you contemplate and create a special atmosphere which makes the movie so worthwhile. Nevertheless, it would have been nice if the director had approached his subject a bit more subtle than with some forced chapter headings.

The pictures which are mostly held in extreme tones of grey and the at times interesting and for a B-movie way too sophisticated images create a high density and dark mood, also thanks to the frequent use of slow-motion and an almost meditative soundtrack, something you seldomly get to see in a thriller. At times the movie can also be tremendously violent, but contrary to "Dream Home" the line to splatter films isn't overstepped this time, even though there are some original dying scenes to be found, too. This makes "Revenge: A Love Story" watchable for the "normal" audience as well. Special words of praise the thriller deserves for the fact that we actually feel captivated by the events, and this although with the exception of Wing there are solely bad individuals to be found here.

"Revenge: A Love Story" is an extremely dark thriller with claustrophic sets which nonetheless will be able to connect with any viewer in the end. Some people will be put off by the pseudo-anti-revenge subject towards the end, but Wong's film still remains an unforgiving Hong Kong thriller, which surely reminds us of genre classics like "Se7en" and thus stands as an anomaly among Hong Kong works. If you then also consider that there haven't really been many inventive movies from the former British crown colony during the last few years this thriller stands out even more. An extraordinary thriller which may be a bit overambitious but in many respects does things just right.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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