Cannes: More ‘Election’

(UPDATED with link to Variety’s positive review below).

More reviews of ELECTION are starting to pop up online.

Reporting for Film Threat, Jeremy Matthews comments:

“From Hong Kong, Johnny Tos ELECTION was also a worthwhile entry in the competition….While it can sometimes be redundant, writer/director To combines the calming sense of tradition and peaceful unity with the violence inherent in the mob lifestyle.”

ScreenDaily has a review by Lee Marshall:

“In trying to combine the star-driven HK action genre with a more reflective exposition of Triad power-mongering, To overreaches himself.” If you’re quick, you can read the full review without a password; after that, it’s limited to subscribers.

That’s strike two from the trades, since The Hollywood Reporter already weighed in with a negative look from Ray Bennett:

“A repellant movie filled with gratuitous violence, ELECTION is bound to find an appreciative audience among those who like their cinematic criminals noisy, stupid and deadly.”

On the other hand, Variety’s review by Derek Elley (resident Asian film critic there) is positive.

“The only Triad movie in memory without a bullet or even a gun on display, Johnnie To’s ELECTION sees the Hong Kong helmer back in prime crime form following flawed actioner BREAKING NEWS. Stepping up into Cannes competition for the first time, To has developed another lateral spin on a familiar genre, here a power struggle within a Triad society at election time. Though some general viewers may feel let down by the relatively scant action, To aficionados should vote for this one, and promising theatrical opportunities loom in the West.”

In an overview by Todd McCarthy, he writes briefly:

“ELECTION features some expert set-pieces and a sustained tone, but its manner of examining the transfer of power within a Triad society is narrowly one-dimensional.”

McCarthy was not very enamored of Masahiro Kobayashi’s BASHING (“offers the viewer absolutely no insight either into the young woman’s psychology or the (to Westerners) impenetrable national mindset that considers her desire to help Iraqis shameful.”

On the other hand, McCarthy commented: “The Directors Fortnight…also scored with Im Sang-soo’s dark South Korean political comedy THE PRESIDENT’S LAST BANG.”

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