Na yeh ling san, ngo joa seung liu Wong Gok hoi wong dai bou dik hung Van
Director: Fruit Chan
Writer: Fruit Chan, Fai-hung Chan
Cast: You-Nam Wong, Janice Man, Simon Yam, Kara Hui, Tien You Chui, Suet Lam
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]
A busy night in Hong Kong and in the middle of the bustle the bus to Tai Po is slowly filled by a group of people who couldn’t be much more different from each other. So far, so normal. But after the bus drives off and through a tunnel, nothing is as it was before: suddenly it seems that the people in the bus are the only ones left in all of Hong Kong, if not the world. As if the apocalypse happened and had forgotten them. But they are far from safe. A mysterious sickness and apparitions in gas masks threaten them as much as they threaten each other. All of them do want to know, though, what the hell is going on.
The Midnight After (I do wonder what the literal translation of that original title is) has a good cast, good looks and is funny and pleasantly crazy throughout. Towards the end it deteriorates a little, though and lacks a couple of resolutions.
The film feels like it moves towards a big bang at the end, some more or less revolutionary discovery or at least an explanation for what is happening to the people. Unfortunately that never comes. We are left in the dark as to what exactly happened to them and what any of the many dropped hints actually mean and which of the many posited theories is a little more accurate. And not only that we don’t know what has happened to them before, the movie ends at a point where things should still happen and we should still find out what will happen to the characters in the following turn of events.
But apart from that unsatisfying openness of the ending, I thoroughly enjoyed The Midnight After. There is a completely unhinged sense of humor dominating the film that I really liked and that I had no problems going along with. Whether it’s an unexpected karaoke show (that probably dethrones Alleluia in the best impromptu singing at this year’s /slash) or the increasingly absurd deaths within the remaining group.
There is also a rape scene, unfortunately, and I could have done without that, especially since, despite the outrage it prompted in the uninvolved parties, it is never really about the victim. At least it leads to one of the more hilarious scenes that is the trial.
That misstep is made up for by the gorgeous visuals of the film (seeing Hong Kong this empty is incredibly creepy. I wonder how they did it) and the cast that fits their respective roles perfectly and plays them with relish. I really had fun.