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The Longest Nite
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Lost in hell: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in The Longest Nite
Chinese: 暗花  
Year: 1998  
Director: Patrick Yau Tat-Chi  
Producer: Johnnie To Kei-Fung, Wai Ka-Fai  
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Lau Ching-Wan, Maggie Siu Mei-Kei, Mark Cheng Ho-Nam, Wong Tin-Lam, Lung Fong, Lo Hoi-Pang, Lam Suet
The Skinny: An incredibly engrossing crime film that thrills with its utter nihilism. Probably the most exhilarating ride out of Hong Kong this year.
by Kozo:

Continuing their streak, Milky Way Productions brings us this dark crime thriller that’s gripping, nihilistic, and very, very good. This is one of the blackest movies you’ll ever see, and it’s directed to near perfection by Patrick Yau (The Odd One Dies).

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is Sam, a very bad cop who’s caught in a brewing gang war in Macau. He works for triad Brother K, who’s in negotiations with rival triad boss Lung to join forces after a long-running feud. The impetus for their union is the return of Mr. Hung, a legendary boss. However, the word on the street is that there’s a contract out on Lung’s life. Worse, the rumor mill maintains that it’s Brother K who’s offering the five million as the Um Fa (hidden reward) - which does nothing for gang peace.

Sam is given the job of preventing any attack on Lung, thereby preserving the two gangs in their stance against Mr. Hung. However, on the fateful day of Lung’s arrival, a mysterious bald stranger (Lau Ching-Wan) walks into town with a bag slung over his shoulder. Then things get worse.

Disturbingly violent, perfectly paced, and involving as hell, this picture is one of the purest genre films you’ll ever see and proof that Hong Kong can still make good movies. The plot twists are more plentiful than in L.A. Confidential, but they’re buoyed by a gripping narrative drive and an incredibly assured sense of style.

The film isn’t perfect: the confusing storyline is littered with holes that exist only to further the plot, and the stylized climax is a bit contrived. However, the film is undeniably compelling. Sure, there is nothing and nobody to connect to in this movie, but the filmmakers clearly know that, and the acting and storytelling are top notch. Both Tony Leung and Lau Ching-Wan display requisite presence and even charisma as two truly heinous characters. The Longest Nite won’t win any humanitarian awards but you may not see a more enthralling picture out of Hong Kong this year. (Kozo 1998)

Notes: • Though it won no Hong Kong Film Awards (movies of such nihilism rarely win awards), it was honored with nominations for Director, Screenplay, and Editing. Both Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Lau Ching-Wan received nominations for acting.
Awards: 18th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination - Best Picture
• Nomination - Best Director (Patrick Yau Tat-Chi)
• Nomination - Best Actor (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai)
• Nomination - Best Actor (Lau Ching-Wan)
• Nomination - Best Screenplay (Szeto Kam-Yuen, Yau Nai-Hoi)
• Nomination - Best Editing (Chan Chi-Wai)
5th Annual Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
• Recommended Film
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen