Oz Asia Festival – 2016 – Election – Johnnie To – Mercury Cinema – 4K

By Tom Eckert


Johnnie To has created a fast paced thrilling insight into the dynamics of Hong Kong mobsters in Election. The setting was perfect in depicting the underground transactions and businesses run by the tribes – the juxtaposition between raw brutality and loyalty to a family would not have worked as well anywhere else in the world. Similarities to Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs must be mentioned as To brilliantly uses wide single shot takes to encapsulate the audience in the room as the Uncles of the tribe discussed plans or just chatted.


A highlight was during the election itself and vital decisions can be put on hold for a tea ceremony. Steeped in tradition this gangster movie is like no other. Loyalty and respect ties the men together as they are bound in a thousand year old tradition, the only difference in their operation is now they have phones. To utilises the modernity of phones as humour as high tension scenes were broken by nothing else than a phone call. Interesting to note that no weapons were used, apart from a knife here and there, but the tribe relied on hand to hand combat and brute force. It was almost refreshing not to see heavy gun fights. The combat scenes were entertaining and quite realistic.


To used the characters well, although there wasn’t any formal character development the two protagonists had a perfect dichotomy between them – hothead and brash ‘Big D’ and the calm and collected Lok. The film is entertaining and the constant twists and high stakes will keep every audience member on their toes.

Kryztoff rating: 4K

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