X-mas Rave Fever

I think perhaps due to the title or due to the PR surrounding this film, many people have different expectations of this film than it delivers on. This is not a sexy, highly charged exploration of the HK rave scene at all – but in fact a fairly subdued but very amusing comedy. It’s a comedy almost disguised within the veneer of a mystery – but as the mystery plays out almost like a shaggy dog story – the comedic aspects of the film become quite clever, very funny and have some wonderfully absurd moments. Though much of it takes place in HK nightspots – but fairly tame discos as opposed to rave parties – the film is all about misunderstandings, miscommunication, misperceptions – and not always believing what you see.

The film very cleverly – almost in Rashoman fashion – looks at the same events over a period of a few days from the point of view of four different characters. As the narrative shifts from one person to another, the film takes on a bit of complexity and the misperceptions are shown to be what they are in amusing ways. It really is a very tight well-written script that at first appears somewhat lightweight, but as the pieces of the puzzle come together one realizes what a fine thoughtful job was done.

 Mark Lui and Jaymee Ong
Mark Lui wakes up one morning late for work after a hard night of drinking – with a hickey on his neck, an unknown filofax on his nightstand and no memory of the night before. He only has a fuzzy image of long shapely leopard boots being removed and wants desperately to know who was in them the night before – so he uses the telephone numbers and appointments in the filofax to track this person – Sophia  - down.
Sam Lee and Yoyo Mung
One trail leads him to a disco where he spots Jaymee Ong dancing and suspecting that it is her – he goes up to her and asks her if the filofax belongs to her. Instead, she leads him into the women’s bathroom for a bit of “shagging” as she phrases it (I’m going to have to try that filofax line very soon - "hi honey have I got something for you." "What's that in your pocket - a filofax or are you just glad to see me). In one very funny camera shot, the camera pulls back and tracks from floor level all the activity going on in the stalls – and very little of it is toilet related!
Jaymee and Terrance Yin
Jaymee Ong is the Chinese-Australian beauty who made an impact in Gen-X Cops and has a much bigger role here. She is undeniably stunning – but both her acting and Chinese have a ways to go. Since she doesn’t speak Chinese, her character always goes “oh you speak Chinese and I’ll speak English”. Here she is a wealthy snotty party girl that makes use of men and bathroom stalls all over HK.
During his tryst in the stall, Mark Lui drops the filofax and Yoyo Mung later picks it up and the narrative soon goes with her. She tries to return the item to Sophia, but instead gets her boyfriend, Terrance Yin. He tells her that Sophia has been missing for two weeks and he has no idea where she is. Yoyo uses the idea of tracking Sophia down as a way of getting close to Terrance who she is instantly smitten with – but after a while she begins to suspect him of wrongdoing. Yoyo is as usual extremely winning and winsome in her role.
The absolutely funniest parts of the film belong to Sam Lee when he takes over the narration. Sam does the burnt out party animal slacker to perfection with his constantly stoned expression of total confusion. It is a priceless performance and really the first that makes me understand why so many HK fans find him so appealing. From drinking cocktails through his IV tube to a stare of envious disbelief at another man’s manhood in the bathroom, it's a classic performance.
Finally, Terrance’s viewpoint takes over the film and all the missing pieces are connected. Some people have expressed a real dislike for the ending of the film – and though it does seem perhaps much less clever than what proceeded it – I didn’t really find it particularly offensive – just a bit juvenile. All in all though, this film is a real treat – perhaps not in the way I was anticipating – but in its own way very enjoyable.
 

My rating for this film: 7.5