Film Review: Life Without Principle (2011) by Johnnie To

Inside the filmography of probably Hong Kong’s most prolific directors, Johnnie To, the year 2011 proved as soon as once more his potential to switch involving genres and tones effortlessly. The romantic comedy “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, co-directed by Wai Ka-Fai, was followed by “Punished”, a crime thriller in a related vein like the ones To had directed just a couple of years prior, and lastly, “Life With out Principle”, a crime drama which would take a closer appear at the effects of financial destabilization. In an interview with the French press, To states he perceives the folks operating in finance, most especially these greater up in the meals chain, as even worse than the infamous Chinese triads, abusing their energy and exploiting, with no 1 in sight to finish their doings. Even although it was anything of a diversion from his other operates, “Life With out Principle” would win massive at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Chinese Film Media Awards and Golden Horse Film Festival, and would also be nominated for the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival 2011.

&#8220Life Without Principle&#8221 is screening as component of The Heroic Mission: Johnnie To Retrospective at The Prince Charles Cinema, London

The general story is divided into 3 narrative strands, which are connected in the final third of the film. At the starting, we meet Inspector Cheung (Richie Jen) who investigates a domestic disturbance, when he is referred to as by his fiancée Connie (Myolie Wu) to come and meet with her in order to take a appear at an apartment, their achievable future property. Due to the fact he appears much more preoccupied with the prospective fees and concentrated on his job, Connie sooner or later becomes frustrated and, as the genuine estate agent tells her she will have to determine rapidly on the house, decides to take matters into her personal hands, setting up a meeting at her bank to go over loans and mortgages.

In the finish, the bank Connie goes to is also exactly where the protagonist, Teresa (Denise Ho), of the second strand operates. Nonetheless, she is afraid she will not be there for extended, as her sales have decreased more than the final weeks, creating her a achievable candidate for becoming fired. As her superiors introduce a new monetary solution, she aims to transform all of this, even if it signifies pressuring costumers into investments which she knows are hazardous or also risky for them.

In the third component of “Life With out Principle”, there is Panther (Lau Ching-wan), member of a neighborhood gang, who has grow to be anything of a handyman for his bosses, organizing parties as properly as their bails following they have been arrested by Hong Kong police. Nonetheless, the latter component of his job turns out to be fairly tricky when he has difficulty locating cash, and therefore tends to make his position in the gang’s hierarchy all the much more vulnerable. At some point, he turns to his old buddy Dragon (Philip Keung), who introduces him to his small business of betting on stocks and the future market place on-line, with fatal consequences.

Even though his opinion of these on prime of the monetary market has currently been pointed out, the plot of “Life With out Principle” focuses mostly on folks attempting to get by inside stated market, like Teresa, or characters whose fate is closely connected to the developments of the international economy. In brief, To tackles fairly a complicated situation, 1 which appears to confuse fairly a lot also, if the sheer quantity of technical vocabulary from the banking and monetary sector is any indicator. This is not to say To did not do his investigation, but rather that he portrays this level of confusion and dependency on a method only a couple of of us actually fully grasp, and these who do aim to exploit it for their personal advantage. By way of the course of the 3 stories, he shows how person happiness, survival and status are linked to this international market place, a method controlled by forces who are out of our attain and who are just focused on their profit.

In common, the comment on the destabilizing impact of the monetary sector and its manage more than our lives is fairly exciting, even although its concentrate on facts is also probably the greatest flaw of “Life With out Principle”. Whereas Denise Ho’s functionality as Teresa is very easily the finest in the function, her character’s story is also the most relatable, emphasizing how someone’s moral principles could be swayed in the face of financial stress, in this case her survival at the bank she operates. On the other hand, when Lau Ching-wan’s functionality is equally very good, presenting Panther as primarily a nervous wreck, whose face is distorted by the continual twitching, his story also requires a lot of time just before it comes to its point, bearing the query if a much more concise strategy to the script could have resulted in a smoother transition from 1 story to the subsequent.

In the finish, although, “Life With out Principle” is an exciting crime drama, worth watching for its ensemble and its comment on the monetary market and its anti-social tendency. Even though his function could have employed a much more concise strategy with regard to its script, Johnnie To proves, nonetheless, he is capable to pull of genre flicks and combine them with a relevant social comment.



  • Try your lucky to get discount coupon
  • 1 spin per email
  • No cheating
Try Your Lucky
Remind later
No thanks