Featuring impressive cinematography and impeccably-executed… MoreFeaturing impressive cinematography and impeccably-executed choreography, EXILED is visual satisfaction at its finest. Johnnie To's gangster actioner includes a fun story that, with its hyperrealistic style, is brooding, tense, emotional, and entertaining. People withstand plethoras of wounds and live to laugh about it, policemen are useless, and protagonists are gangsters. The result? An ideal plot for sustaining gorgeously crafted scenes of bullet and bloodshed ballets - beautiful from the slow-motion photography to the hard and precise lighting to the variety of different and constantly-emotive color palettes.
The exquisite and warm production design brings 1998 Macau - a Portuguese colony in Southeast China about an hour ferry ride away from Hong Kong - to life. It allows Cheng Siu-Keung - To's reliable cinematographer - to design shadows and balance the dark atmosphere with evocative lighting setups in order to consistently emphasize danger and insurmountability for the protagonists. Anthony Wong leads an excellent cast with his subtle and imposing presence, complemented by Francis Ng's staccato outbursts and feisty demeanor, and offset by Simon Yam's fun and villainous role as a Triad boss. To top it off, Canadian composer Guy Zerafa provides a score filled with stringy and metallic guitar riffs that intricately builds the tension and results for an even more stylized experience.
The film works, and it so happens to feature entertainment at its suavest - the structure is somewhat loose, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, yet the themes are consistent. With actors who are fitting and flat-out cool, combined with the experienced technical team at Milky Way Images helping to realize the eloquent vision of their prolific director, EXILED is a fantastic action film where To's signature touch is unmistakable.