Thursday, 11 September 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2004: Alex Fong in One Nite in Mongkok

Alex Fong did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Inspector Milo in One Nite in Mongkok.

One Nite in Mongkok is a decent enough cop thriller about the police trying to find a would-be assassin Lai-fu (Daniel Wu) before he makes his hit.

Alex Fong plays the cop in charge of finding the assassin to prevent him from committing the hit. Fong is almost co-lead, but not quite, as Milo mostly because he's given few personal scenes, and when the film focuses on the cops it tends to show them in more of an ensemble type of view even if Milo is the lead one. Fong's performance is a very quiet and to the point performance since most of the film depicts Milo very much going through the process of tracking down the killer, although there is one brief scene that depicts his personal problem it is shown through some editing rather than really through Fong. Most of the film is focused on Lai-fu and his relationship with a prostitute who both are from mainland China opposed to Hong Kong. For the most part Fong is very much pigeonholed in his role, but that does not mean he does not still manage to create a more interesting character than the technically far more fleshed out true lead of the film.

Fong's very good in portraying frankly the events which have occurred before the film in which Milo had to shoot a suspect causing him to change especially since it contributed to his wife leaving him. Fong is effective in giving the constant sense of a certain depression that is simply part of Milo now. Fong's very good in portraying it as a lived in depression though as Milo is pretty much always on duty throughout the film therefore does not really have anytime to sulk. Fong's good in portraying the drive in Milo as he brings the needed underlying passion for Milo who still fulfills his duties despite his personal problems. Fong's quite good in making his performance always resonate somewhat even though his scenes often are far more focused on the chase than Milo. His performance always manages to show Milo as a real man reacting to each new development rather than just blank slate cop as he very well could have been.

The most major scene given to Fong is when one trigger happy cop accidentally shoots an unarmed man. Fong does make the most of his chance. Fong is very effective in conveying the way that Milo is basically running the whole situation through his head. On one hand he shows in his initial reaction the shock of the sudden action, and interestingly brings a warmth toward the support of the cop. Fong very naturally though brings a direct coldness as Milo works to cover up the mistake. Fong's really good here because although he shows Milo as forcing a cover up he always gives the sense that Milo is only doing it due to his empathy for his fellow officer. Unfortunately Fong is not given enough scenes like this, and I think it would have only aided the film if they had let Fong further explore Milo as a character. Nevertheless Fong handles the character of Milo quite adeptly by bringing a complexity basically between the margins of the film and makes us understand the character despite having few scenes to himself.


koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Are you going to watch I ♥ Huckabees before the ranking, or wait for extra rounds?

Louis Morgan said...

I've seen it. I did not include Schwartzman in lead because I'm still not sure whether I consider it a pure ensemble, one lead in Schwartzman, or if perhaps both he and Jude Law are leads.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I'd consider Schwartzman lead and Law Supporting. It seems like the kind of movie you'd hate, but what did you think of the cast? Wahlberg and Law in particular?

luke higham said...

Louis: Ratings included

Louis Morgan said...

Robert: Well my dilemma mainly comes from the half-way through point where it shifts away from Schwartzman and delves into Law's own personal dilemma then proceeding to bring the two together in the end.

I did not hate the movie actually, there might have been parts I very much disliked, and I don't really disagree with the guy from In The Loop, but there are decent things in it.

So the cast:

Tomlin - 3(I hate to admit it, but the funniest thing in connection to the movie in relation to her is her fights with David O. Russell. Anyway though I do think she does a good enough job of delivery all the existential exposition)

Huppert - 2.5(The same can't be said for Huppert who I thought always looked a bit lost in the film. I did not think she was actively bad, but I don't know if she knew what exactly the film was going for. Although that's certainly easy enough to sympathize with)

Hoffman - 3(Hoffman's definitely not trying for any daring sort of performance here, but he does a nice enough job of utilizing his particular charm for the role)

Law - 3(Law why did he try to do an American accent. That just kept the whole performance off to me as he couldn't ever keep it consistent for a single scene. I do think past that he did a solid job of going from the pompous jerk to slowly breaking down under examination. I try not to always make a big deal about accents, but this was one of those examples where it really was detrimental)

Schwartzman - 2.5(Schwartzman's performance always felt like he did not want to choose a path for the character. He could have just gone for the full comic style of Wahlberg and Watts, or Law's more emotional style but he tries for both which doesn't quite work)

Wahlberg - 4(Wahlberg takes the best approach, along with Watts, because all he tries to be is really funny. He does not try to bring meaning to his character's petroleum fixation instead he just uses that to create a bizarre one note character. Thankfully I thought his one note was quite enjoyable actually)

Watts - 4(The same goes for Watts who also just tries to be funny as the ditzy blonde. Watts manages to be quite endearing in the off-beat enthusiasm of her character. I also enjoyed her bizarre breakdown because Watts managed to make the material actually humorous)

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Three things that puts Wahlberg higher for me; his shockingly good chemistry with Schwartzman, the fact that his line delivery makes him sound both intelligent and dumb at the same time, and those hilarious faces he makes when he's "saving" Watts.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Also, that In the Loop scene about the movie was freaking hysterical.

RatedRStar said...

This isnt actually Fongs best performance, but I am sure you can see why he is such an underrated character actor.

JackiBoyz said...

@RatedRStar: Which hong kong star will be next?

RatedRStar said...

@JackiBoyz : An underrated one...

Anonymous said...

Is Blanchett now your pick for Steve Nissou, or is still Madsen?

Anonymous said...

Louis, you said on the comments of Willem Dafoe's profile but you're not a fan of Anjelica Huston so I'd like to ask you, what do you think of her Oscar winning performance? I thought she was the only good thing of that mess of a movie.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

How close was Bale to getting a 5 for Into the Furnace? Sorry, random question lol

Louis Morgan said...




Eh I thought she was okay the first time I watched it, but I got as tired of here as I was the rest of the movie on re-watch.


He was rather close.