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Liddy Li and Pakho Chau are feeling Guilty.
Chinese: 四非  
Year: 2015  
Director: Jil Wong Pak-Kei  

Shirley Yung Sau-Lan, Chan Pang-Chun


Chan Pang-Chun


Pakho Chau Pak-Ho, Liddy Li Yue-Tong, Ai Wai, Chow Tsz-Lung, Liu Kai-Chi

The Skinny:

Unusual for current Hong Kong fare, this Category III hitman drama attempts arty exploitation but comes up lacking. From the director and star of S for Sex, S for Secrets. Hmmm.

by Kozo:

An unexpected low-budget hitman drama from director Jil Wong (S for Sex, S for Secrets), Guilty offers unorthodox storytelling technique and occasional surprise to compensate for its stylistic and narrative mediocrity. The disfigured Jack (the increasingly ubiquitous Pakho Chau) is a low-level hitman who shuns most human contact besides his handler (Ai Wai), who brokers hits from a corner newsstand. After a successful assassination, Jack engages the services of prostitute Ting Ting (model Liddy Li, who’s most famous for a 2014 media scandal). But before they complete the deed, he decides to buy out her contract, and uses the money from another successful hit to do so.

Ting Ting takes up residence in Jack’s grubby shack and returns to attending school (complete with uniform for cosplay fans), while he pretends to process recyclables for a living. However, Ting Ting shows sociopathic tendencies – besides being moody and petulant, she abuses a classmate who comes to her for sexual favors, and is clearly manipulating Jack’s emotions with occasional flesh teases. Jack seems aware of Ting Ting’s manipulations but placates her while growing increasingly jealous of her flirtations with a growing roster of men. Will Ting Ting reveal her game – if she even has one – before Jack erupts violently, sexually or in a manner that’s both violent and sexual?

Guilty has the potential to be a stylish and twisted thriller, but is ultimately only a middling attempt at arty exploitation. The film gets points for not employing voiceover, and for developing its characters through interaction rather than exposition. The story takes a while to get going and doesn’t reveal its intentions early, which makes for inscrutable but also intriguing storytelling. Dialogue and development are unremarkable, however, and art direction is murky to distraction. The sexual content and violence are potent for current Hong Kong fare but weighs in below the industry’s previous Category III heights – or depths, depending on your affection for such content. Betraying the production’s budget, the action and gunplay are unexceptional and mostly perfunctory.

Director Jil Wong gives his characters screen time to gestate, but his actors are not up to the task. In an image-busting role, Pakho Chow is lightweight and Liddy Li comes off as cold and lacking the necessary nuance or complexity. Also, the story eventually aligns with convention while also telegraphing its biggest plot twist, which it then pads out with unnecessary detail. Despite its edgy ambitions, Guilty is an unremarkable thriller, and is mostly notable because its moody exploration of dark characters is rare for modern Hong Kong filmmaking. The film might have been more successful and surprising had it gone full-on exploitation, but as is we’ll have to be content with a toned-down homage to the more energetic and entertaining genre fare of Hong Kong Cinema past. (Kozo, 8/2015)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
CN Entertainment Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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