Port of Call

2015

Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

192
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 1,809

Synopsis


Downloaded times
March 21, 2020

Director

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
900.24 MB
1280*720
Chinese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
126 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.74 GB
1920×1080
Chinese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
126 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by moviexclusive 7 / 10 / 10

Unwaveringly bleak and sombre, this meditative piece of social commentary masquerading as crime thriller is compelling and hypnotic in spite of its flaws

'Port of Call' belongs to that rare breed of Hong Kong film that strives to be social commentary. Indeed, that shouldn't come as something surprising for those who have seen writer/ director Philip Yung's previous two works, 'Glamourous Youth' and 'May We Chat'. Here, Yung dramatically raises the stakes by basing his story on a gruesome, real-life murder case which shocked the nation back in 2008, so like its real-life inspiration, 'Port' revolves around the murder of a young girl that draws three distinct individuals together. On the first hand is 16-year-old Wang Jiamei (Jessie Li), who moves to Hong Kong in 2009 to live with her mother, stepfather and older biological sister. Over the course of a fractured narrative divided into three chapters, we will come to learn of Jiamei's ambitions to be a model that led to her auditioning for a dodgy talent company which uses her not as a photo-model but as talent scout, and how that eventually leads her to become a 'paid escort' so she doesn't have to ask her mother for money for material stuff she wants to buy. In particular, her life of prostitution leads her to fall in love with a bookish but nonetheless handsome-looking twenty- something who promptly throws her under the bus when he is confronted by his girlfriend, leaving her emotionally devastated and emptier than ever before. The next character we are asked to pay attention to is Ting Tsz- chung (stage actor Michael Ning in his bigscreen debut), a stocky short- fused meat deliveryman who also happens to be a triad member. Very early on, the tenement house where Ting lives is the site of a grisly murder where the victim was dismembered and subsequently disposed of in various locations all over town, and Ting turns himself in shortly after to confess his role in killing Jiamei after a drug-addled night of paid sex where Jiamei asks Ting to murder her. The whodunit isn't what Yung is after here; rather, the second chapter entitled 'A Lonely Person' in particular tells of how Ting was unceremoniously dumped not long before he meets Jiamei by a girl whom he had a sweet and soft spot for. Finally, there is Chong-sir (Aaron Kwok), a Regional Crimes Bureau detective assigned to Jiamei's case with his partner Smoky (Patrick Tam). Like Kwok's recent 'detective' roles, this one comes with its own quirks – not only is his physical appearance, complete with an unflattering crop of graying hair, rumpled clothes and ill-fitting glasses, slightly disorientating to say the least, Chong-sir loves to take his own picture using a Polaroid camera at murder scenes and the homes of other people he interviews as part of the investigation. As much as Jiamei's is an open-and-shut case, Chong- sir is intrigued by just how a young girl like Jiamei would end up in such a predicament, that curiosity driven in part by his own role as a father. Like we said earlier, Yung chooses to tell his tale by moving back and forth in time, and that choice of narrative structure does take some time to get used to, to say the very least. As its title suggests, the first chapter 'Seeking Mei' is probably the most disjointed, comprised of scenes that do not intuitively gel with each other; the middle chapter gets slightly more coherent, in part because it is also where the past and present timelines meet and things happen in a more linear fashion. But altogether, the film demands a fair bit of patience and focus on the part of its viewer to keep seemingly disparate events in mind with the promise that it will all start to make sense towards the end. Amidst the somewhat uneven and inconsistent pacing however is an absolutely consistent sense of ennui, sadness and even anguish. Jiamei, Ting and Chong-sir are all lonely individuals in their own way – one who finds her hopes of companionship dashed by a 'bastard', one who finds his feelings unreciprocated, and one who has become estranged from his wife (now ex-wife) and daughter over the years because of his work. The world they inhabit is similarly bleak, captured by cinematographer Christopher Doyle in all its harsh beauty whether the gritty alleys or cramped working-class apartments where isolated souls are faced with their own misery. Especially defined with acute poignancy is Jiamei's growing disillusion with life, meant undoubtedly as a symbol of a whole segment of youth who are searching for purpose and fulfilment in their lives but who come out empty. That we feel so deeply for Jiamei is also credit to newcomer Jessie Li's heartfelt performance, conveying her character's fragility, melancholy, desolation and eventual despair as a result of her displaced upbringing as well as her displacement from society. Li is matched by an equally gripping performance by Ning, who brings pathos to his loner character so that we feel for Ting than regard him as a psychopath. That's not to say that the film is perfect; that it most certainly isn't, and for one, it isn't hard to imagine a much more powerful film if the storytelling were more focused and the characters more well-defined. Yet there is something hypnotic and mesmerising about it, about the way it portrays the state of disfranchised youth in society, about how it gives voice to their frustrations, anxieties and hopelessness, and most of all about how relevant it is. It is for these reasons that 'Port of Call' stays with you long after the credits are over, provoking you to think about the Jiameis and Tings in our midst and what we can do to avoid the tragedy that brought this film to being in the first place. It may not be the best Hong Kong film you'll see this year (notwithstanding its official submission by the territory to the Oscars), but it is probably one of the most significant.

Reviewed by ctowyi 7 / 10 / 10

The movie is filled with walking enigmas

Nominated for 8 Golden Horse Awards and it is HK's entry for the Best Foreign Film Award, but seriously I don't get what the hullabaloo is about. Let me count the ways it failed - unevenly paced, oddly edited, directed without clarity, unnecessary fractured timelines, characters feel like walking enigmas. Only they know what they are doing. I didn't care for anyone. I think it is a veiled attempt at social commentary about the state of lonely youths in HK but the characters are not drawn well. The movie does not strive on suspense and we know who the murderer is pretty soon. The film then delves into their motivations but as far as I can tell every character is only painted with one identifiable trait. Getting Aaron Kwok here to be driving force is a waste of talent and I can't understand what's the point of him taking Polaroids and playing that damn kendama toy. I hate it when filmmakers do these dumb stuff and expect us to derive a deep reason about it. Scene to scene, the transitions feel unwieldy. Sometimes odd characters parachute in to pay some lip service and suggest some depth. Yawn! And I hate it when there are false endings. I think there are 3 here. It felt like it didn't want to end. I do like Christopher Doyle's cinematography in that he refuses to pick up anything glamorous about HK. Jessie Li and Michael Ning as the killed and killer are laudable. Finally the movie doesn't shy away from some grisly gore. Something I don't see often in HK movies. PS - I googled the actual case which is just grisly. A 16-year-old girl got chop into pieces by a 24-year-old man. Go wiki Wong Ka Mui

Reviewed by quincytheodore 7 / 10 / 10

Unbarred venture into debauchery and deception.

"Port of Call" is a thriller definitely not for everybody, it walks a very fragile line of uncomfortable vices. The approach is done as realistically as possible with crude language and plenty of outright yelling. The scenes are not grand thriller, it's muddied yet invitingly dark, though slightly hampered by odd burst in the pacing. The movie, on the surface, is a story about certain crime investigation. A young girl is missing and a detective digs into her life and associates. The more he uncovers the more secrets this young lady harbored, soon it's a one way trip into drugs and murder. One strangely twisted beautiful thing about this is how the story of the woman, her concerned and hopes, is told after the crime. It's an intimately gripping thriller, and the risqué parts are done with finesse, but it might deter the audience with the hectic pace. Transition between investigation and the past can overlap as the movie is divided into chapters, which in turns reveal particular people's connection and aspects of their lives. This can be dauntingly diverse since the information overload is felt throughout and the shift occurs very fast. It's as though several jigsaw puzzles are thrown in random order, it may fit eventually but it's likely to confuse audience early on. It's not intended for a cerebral crime and more of one with passion. There's ample of human drama and struggle in "port of Call", admittedly it's engagingly dark, however an occasional plodding sidetrack might be too distracting for the investigation viewpoint.

Read more IMDb reviews

0 Comments

Be the first to leave a comment