by Jamie M MacDonald
For three decades Liu Lok (Aaron Kwok) and Nam Kong (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) have controlled the triads to maximise profit for all! During these turbulent times the Police and the triads have been locked in a power struggle. Everyday people in Hong Kong suffer by the hands of both; bribes need to happen to get an ambulance to take loved one to hospital, or for the fire brigade to put out a fire. By the late 70s the Independent Commission against Corruption in Hong Kong is formed. Some would say this is long overdue. Corruption within the Police is rife; the triads have never been so powerful. Liu Lok keeps his hands clean behind the scenes overlooking it all with the help of his wife. She is the one that put him where he is using the triads; even she is now targeted for assassination. The ICAC are closing in issuing warrants for top ranking officers in the police department. The empire that both Liu Lok and Nam Kong have built is all about to come crumbling down.
Writer/Director Philip Yung’s Where the Wind Blows is a masterpiece of character study. Spanning three decades from when both men join the police cadets through World War II and the occupation of Hong Kong by the Japanese. The film delves deep into their motivations, what makes two once righteous men become kings of a criminal empire. Right through the 50s, 60s and 70s they have no rivals except maybe themselves. It is very slow and meticulous in its storytelling, but never is it dull. How it is structured takes a bit of getting used to until it settles down about twenty minutes into it. Aaron Kwok is perfectly cast as Liu Lok or Lee Rock as he is known in some versions of the story. Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is his usual charismatic on screen self as Nam Kong. The scenes between them are most definitely the standout moments of the film, the heart of the story from start to finish. Jesse Li is Chun Xia Liu Lok’s wife; all three actors are the driving force of the film. Michael Hui is outstanding as the head of the ICAC Lee Chi-Chiu, he has one heartfelt moving speech in the film that will just take your breath away, and his scenes with Tony Leung are both intense and moving. We also have a nice cameo appearance from the late great Richard Ng, a legend of Hong Kong cinema! Dennis Chan makes a memorable appearance as well.
Cripple Ho is seen here as well, but this time it is not about him. This take on the tale as it says said above is all about Liu Lok and Nam Kong, it is fresh and it is captivating. Though at times you can`t help but feel there`s is more to be said about these two men. Maybe we should have more insight into their later life`s, there`s three decades more crammed into a feature here.
Where the Wind Blows is one of those films I feel will get better and better with each viewing as you pick up something you missed previously. One of my favourite films of the year so far due mainly to the performances of two of Hong Kong`s best actors for me Aaron Kwok and Tony Leung Chiu-wai.
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When the wind blows Trailer
Where the wind Blows: Rating