Police Confidential

An exciting noire styled movie that begins with a splash of flair as Simon Yam, chained up and beaten is rescued  - all filmed in a cool blue light and serenaded by a great jangly surf music sound track. As the movie proceeds we see what series of events brought him to that state.

He is a cop, though far from a paragon (a few sexual peculiarities), who is framed for taking a bribe and tries to discover who is setting him up. The answer is in a morass of police and political corruption. Just a terrifically filmed, paced and acted film that is tense from the get go.

And Simon has three very lovely co-stars - Carrie Ng - looking incredibly delicious with that sexy evil red lipsticked smile of hers.  Linda Wong (daughter of Jimmy Wang Yu ) plays a female cop , the other who plays the prostitute is unknown to me. A Kirk Wong production. It is one of the better police dramas from HK in my opinion.

My rating for this film: 8.5


Reviewed by YTSL
 

Simon Yam and Carrie Ng are two Hong Kong movie people whose work I tend to respect and like but who seem to, more often than not, feature in productions that seem not to be entirely classy productions.  Although not quite Elvis Tsui, Anthony Wong, Yung Hung and Pang Dan, they do appear in more Category III films than the other actors and actresses whose movies I do actively seek to check out.  Consequently, upon learning that they are the stars of a particular effort, I must admit to tending to, at best, expect something along the likes of "Naked Killer" (in which they figured prominently):  That is, a movie which is visually stylish -- and not all that low budget -- yet also somewhat trashy in terms of content.

In POLICE CONFIDENTIAL, Simon Yam's part is that of a police detective who is way less clean-cut than the one he portrayed in the now infamous 1992 offering with which Chingmy Yau will forever be associated.  The actor also gets more lines and screentime plus a more interesting character to play with and develop.  In lesser hands, I could imagine the (re)viewer not being as able to understand -- or even accept the existence of -- his unorthodox yet honorable character (something which is amply and movingly shown by his choice of woman to spend the rest of his life with at film's end).  Yam fully succeeds though in making one sympathize with a man who has less than mainstream sexual inclinations as well as believe that this same person may also be a good cop who is less easy to corrupt in some ways than others.

It is a measure of the quality of this 1995 production that all of the other main players in this crime drama are as multi-dimensionally drawn and portrayed as its (anti-)hero. Suffice to say that all of them are not (only) as they first appear.  The extent of possibility and unpredictability of what can also be described as an erotic psychological thriller is illustrated by its being so that I could not fathom for quite a while which of three women -- a powerful legislator, a fellow crime-fighter, a sought-after prostitute -- was the one with whom Officer Lui (Simon Yam) was having phone sex with for quite a significant portion of the film.  The elliptical mode of the storytelling (N.B. POLICE CONFIDENTIAL actually begins with the showing of events that take place in the middle portion of the story) also greatly adds to the sense that this movie is not so much about moving from point A to B but way more about uncovering layers and still more layers of knowledge about particular individuals as well as what's actually going on in their world and with them.

With regards to Carrie Ng:  I don't think that my review of POLICE CONFIDENTIAL would be quite complete without mentioning that this sometimes under-rated actress is once more in her scarily capable sexily evil mode here (IMHO, the scene in which she, clad in a pink Chanel(-type) suit, turns the table on an obnoxious fellow politician at a village meeting is breathtaking).  However, it is the equally competent and surprising character essayed by Linda Wong who is the heroine of this film.  As for a third actress who gets to show her talents in this piece:  I don't know her name (and, hence, her other work) but wish I did.  And though I don't think I can go into too much detail into the character portrayed by Zhang Feng-Yi without letting loose some major spoilers, I think it safe to state that his work is top-notch too and added considerably to the suitably dark mood and complex nature of this thoroughly engrossing movie.

Postscript:  Perhaps the film's Chinese title of "Shocking Sex Scandal" attracted precisely the wrong kind of audience for it and kept away the people who I think would appreciate this offering.  All I know is that it is a travesty that POLICE CONFIDENTIAL was shown for only five days -- and made less than HK$ 2 million dollars -- in Hong Kong cinemas. The bottom line for me is that:  Yes, there are sex(y) and violent scenes in it but the appeal of the movie lies more in the surprising twists and turns that the plot takes  (especially in the first half; less so, unfortunately, later on) and the heartstopping feel of a scene in which a man and a woman meet in the middle of a busy road along with a perhaps disturbing -- but not necessarily sensationalist -- delving into the nature of the species of animal known as humans.

My rating for the film:  8.5