Created on Friday, 27 August 2010 13:00
Written by Elaine
Directed by Dante Lam, The Stool Pigeon is one of the best Hong Kong crime flicks in the recent past with all the right elements – a brilliant direction, intense performances from the cast and great cinematography.
Ghost Junior (Nicholas Tse) is the son of a well-known underground racer and a former convict who wishes nothing short of a peacefully dull ever after. But once again, money is the bad guy. To save his sister who is at risk for prostitution and to repay his father's million dollar debt, he accepts a dangerous offer by inspector Don Lee (Nick Cheung) as a police informant (otherwise known as stool pigeon). Ghost Junior is to infiltrate a gang that specialises in jewellery heists by signing as the getaway driver in the next heist. He might have greater chance of surviving this job had he not fall for the girlfriend of the gang mastermind.
The film is set in the chaotic streets of Kowloon where anything – usually bad – could happen. There are violent beatings, bloody stabbings and escapes down the dirty alleys as well as exciting car chases, shootouts and explosions. But unlike some recent loud and brainless flicks, The Stool Pigeon goes deep into the psyche of police informants and the risks that are involved in their under-appreciated role.
The Stool Pigeon is, too, a refreshing take as there is role reversals for both lead actors – Tse was a cop in his recent past movie 'The Beast Stalker' while Cheung recently won Best Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his role as the kidnapper in the same film (also directed by Dante Lam).
Cheung does a great job coming across as a cold and unfeeling cop, expert at squeezing his stool pigeons for as much intel as possible without getting his hands dirty. His layered emotions – guilt and creeping doubts on whether his use of informants are worth the quest for justice – are evident throughout the entire movie.
As for Nicholas Tse, the relatively young actor seems to be on route to the same status as the elder Tse, who was hailed an iconic actor in his time, by taking up roles that place great emphasis on an actor's skills. Perhaps the brutal beatings he has to endure helps as well. With his performance in recent years, we won't be surprised if he bags the upcoming Best Actor award.
Our take: A movie that will keep you on your feet and to be enjoyed both on and off screens with loads of loud action to cover up the noise from chomping your popcorn.
The Stool Pigeon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stool_Pigeon_(2010_film)