In Mandarin with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Johnnie To
Cast: Chou Yu Min, Li Bing Bing, Yao Yung,
Maggie Shiu, Roy Cheung, Wong Yau Nam
Runtime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & Encore
Rating: PG (Some Scenes of Intimacy)
Official Website: www.encorefilms.com/linger.html
Opening Day: 10 January 2008
Tung (played by Chou Yu Min) is a popular student at his college.
He was initially dating Fan, the college’s Queen, but
became attracted to Gia (played by Li Bing Bing) whom he fell
in love at first sight.
day, Gia and Tung had a quarrel and when Tung gave chase to
Gia on his motorcycle, he had a car accident and died. After
the accident, Gia isn’t herself anymore and relies on
medication to control her emotions.
years have passed since Tung’s death. Gia has graduated
and works as a legal assistant in a law firm. Life is busy
but she feels empty. She does not know if it is because of
guilt or that she misses him.
doctor, Dr. Yuen (played by Roy Cheung) advises her to stop
the medication and move on with her life. However, once she
stops the medication, she begins to see Tung in her dreams.
She suspects that her encounters with Tung are real. At the
same time, she realizes that her love for Tung is true and
she has never stopped loving him.
this point, Wu (played by Wong Yau Nam) appears in Gia’s
life. Wu is a delinquent who has been sent to the reformatory
several times and has no permanent occupation. As Wu admires
Gia, he is willing to do anything for Gia and she asks him
to track down Tung’s father.
relationship with his father is one burden that Tung cannot
let go even after his death. Their relationship has never
been good after Tung was beaten by his father in his youth.
They drifted further apart when Tung moved out to stay on
his own in his second year of college. Gia discovers that
Tung’s father misses his son very much.
last, Gia frees her true self to Tung and he fades away as
they both defeat the affliction within their hearts …
Disclaimer From This Reviewer:
Likes: Johnnie To’s male dark conflict
Dislikes: Sappy Taiwanese Teenage Romance
Can’t comprehend: the whole F4 buzz
in Meteor Garden.
The biggest draw for Linger would probably be the first time
collaboration of popular Taiwan boy band F4 member, Vic Chou
and Hong Kong auteur Director Johnnie To. Linger would also
be Vic Chou’s breakthrough into the movie industry and
like many of his counterparts who are looking to cross over
into the movie platform, it’s often met with great success
or they would simply crash and burn.
just put it that this collaboration was a let down from either
Director Johnnie To has his fair share of romance movies under
his belt (such as Turn Left, Turn Right), it’s his films
that dabbles with the darker nature of mankind (Election,
PTU, Mad Detective) that really stood out. Linger bears very
little of his intriguing story telling trademarks in recent
times, except some of his regulars who made a welcome appearance
in this movie.
there the “charm” in certain Taiwanese Teenage
Romance Drama series where there is this main male lead character
who is constantly behaving in an ungentlemanly manner, often
veering close to bullying the female character in the series
was rather unfathomable. I simply don’t see the attraction
in that but I been told by female friends that there was a
certain level of coolness to it.
in Linger, even though it was directed by a Hong Kong director
and in a Hong Kong setting, we are still getting a rehash
of such unlikable behavior in a male lead role which personally
made it hard for me to relate to the reason why Tung is lingering
around for so long in this world when his time is up or even
sympathize his untimely demise. Was he that petty that he
needed to stay around for so long for the answer of an outcome
from a rather juvenile relationship? It was particularly hard
to sympathize when the cause of the accident was from such
childish acts. Did the writer even stop to ponder why was
there such urgency for Tung to seek an answer from Gia prior
to the accident?
also felt that half way through the film or story writing
process, the writer realized that she didn’t have a
strong case for this whole afterlife lingering debacle, an
unresolved family turmoil was thrown in to strengthen the
whole plot device. The end result felt like a sloppy patchwork
which threw creditability out of the window.
evidence of this film’s sloppiness could be found in
the film’s Chinese title itself. Literally it meant
“Butterfly fly” but the movie never made any attempts
in explaining the meaning of the sudden appearance of butterflies
in this movie. Although most would have guess the butterflies
significance in this movie, it still felt that the butterflies
were hastily added so that people won’t go scratching
their head, wondering why was this film titled in this way.
Vic Chou’s name as the lead in this movie felt like
a awful scam to all his fans. His lead screen time presence
felt as short as Anthony Hopkins’ one in Silence in
the Lamb (which the movie was ironically made “fun”
of in this movie) but (of course) his appearances were no
where as memorable as Mr Lector. By the time when the credits
rolled, it might have been more correct if Vic Chou’s
name was taken from the main billing and fitted at the special
appearance one instead.
Chou’s chemistry with Li Bing Bing was almost a non
existence one. Partly the script was to be blame as it had
his character behaving in the most irresponsible manner and
instead of building any romantic moments between these two;
it was squandered mostly on bullying and terrorizing. By the
time the script changed it tune at the mid way, when it’s
time to root for Tung, Vic Chou’s performance was too
stoic to create that “emotionally deeply inflicted”
persona to relate to.
it was Li Bing Bing’s character as Gia that made Linger
watchable and perhaps a good choice that she carried most
of the bulk of this movie. Although there was this distracting
Chinese accent that kept reminding me that she is a China
actress playing a Hong Kong citizen role, her sensibility
and fragileness made it easy to root for her to survive this
seemly endless torture.
might not have been the right person to review this film as
I suspect that Linger is targeted for the younger female demographic
that are fervent followers of the Taiwan romance series. However
Linger brought out two points for me, Romance probably is
not director Johnnie To’s forte and I will probably
never understand the selling points of teenage heartthrob
(Nothing much worth lingering for)
Review by Richard Lim Jr