Sunday, 13 November 2016

Alternate Best Actor 2005: Tony Leung Ka-Fai in Election

Tony Leung Ka-Fai did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Big D in Election.

Election follows the turmoil as a triad chooses its new leader. It has a great setup yet it fails to properly develop its characters and ends up being rather forgettable as Hong Kong crime films go.

Well enough with little Tony Leung let's see what big Tony Leung is capable of, fittingly as Big D. Big D is one of the men vying for the top position going against his chief rival Lam Lok (Simon Yam). Where Lam is the more reserved family man type, though not necessarily less brutal, Big D basically plays the part of the gangster to a t. Leung seems to relish this role and in turn plays the part of the gangster to a t. He's a flamboyant hot shot and Leung brings this to life with real joy in his performance. Leung goes big in the right way bringing the sort of swagger needed for the man. This is fitting to someone called Big D to begin with, as Leung makes him a man who loves the life of gangster probably more than what one technically gains from it in a monetary sense. Leung carries himself as ready for the game at the center, and from his opening scene effectively shows why Big D clearly will not simply let the vote decide who is in charge.

Big D stays as the wild card throughout the film as he tries to get the upper hand any way possible, violent or otherwise, all the while the other elder mafia members, Lam Lok, and the police try to keep things under control through other methods. Leung stands out well as the guy who perhaps is a bit outside of his depth in the whole affair, while still being an effective player because of his often ridiculous approach in his attempt to seize power. Leung brings that right sort of explosive presence to his work as any time Big D is onscreen he's all that matters. Leung technically makes him the right kind of mess of bluster as he is absolutely convincing as he man who openly attacks one of his associates as not only the police but the press are watching him.

Of course the film's flaws kind of hover around Leung who is basically in a world of his own throughout the film, as Big D just goes about doing his own thing, until just before the very end. Leung is the by far the best part of the film as he's the only real aspect of the film that "pops" so to speak. Almost all the other characters sort of fade together in part due to the rushed pace of the film, but also the lack of character moments. Leung makes Big D just about all character, and I became invested in his story mainly because he was one of the few characters who had any real life to him. Leung's work still is fairly limited, as the film is almost an ensemble piece, though I'd say Big D and Lam Lok are given enough importance to be considered lead, but this does not help the lack of refinement in the characters. Leung's infuses enough life into Big D to be the highlight of the film, but not quite enough to truly overcome the weakness of said film.

41 comments:

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I have not seen this one yet.

So is Fanning a 4.5 for The Neon Demon? Lastly, who do you prefer as an actress, Elle Fanning or Dakota Fanning? Personally I like Elle much more.

Louis Morgan said...

Giuseppe:

Yes. Elle with ease.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is Streep a 4 for Florence Foster Jenkins, since you gave Mirren a 4 for Eye In The Sky.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

No, I suppose I mentally tripped over thinking about placing Mirren in lead or supporting. But hey drop Streep and replace with Mirren for the fifth place.

Anonymous said...

Louis what are your current acting predictions?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Actor:

Denzel Washington - Fences (Winner)
Casey Affleck - Manchester By the Sea
Andrew Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling - La La Land
Michael Keaton - The Founder

Actress:

Emma Stone - La La Land (Winner)
Natalie Portman - Jackie
Annette Bening - 20th Century Women
Ruth Negga - Loving
Jessica Chastain - Miss Sloane

Supporting Actor:

Liam Neeson - Silence (Winner)
Hugh Grant - Florence Foster Jenkins
Michael Shannon - Nocturnal Animals
Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water
Mahershala Ali - Moonlight

Supporting Actress:

Viola Davis - Fences (Winner)
Michelle Williams - Manchester by the Sea
Greta Gerwig - 20th Century Women
Naomie Harris - Moonlight
Nicole Kidman - Lion

RatedRStar said...

I like the idea of having a little Tony and Big Tony because they are so different as actors with Tony Leung Chiu Wai being short and very humble while Tony Leung Ka-Fai is very tall and has quite a big ego lol.

Tony Leung Ka-Fai is a very skilled actor of the bombastic type, although I dont think he is in the league of leading men like Lau Ching Wan and Tony Leung Chiu Wai although he is treated as such by the public and the media as being one of the go 2 guys.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: Who in your opinion out of the other 7 actors gives the worst performance in the film? (Yam, Koo, N Cheung, Siu Fai, Suet, G Lam and Wong Tin Lam)

RatedRStar said...

Louis: I promise that some of these actors are actually very good in other films as well lol.

Louis Morgan said...

RatedRStar:

I did not find anyone outright terrible mostly just bland.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: You should watch the other 3 best actor nominees from the 2005 HK awards then you will see terrible lol xD

RatedRStar said...

I am glad also that you agree that Wong Tin Lam getting a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the HK awards was just undeserved lol.

Calvin Law said...

Yeah I'm not a huge fan of Big Leung in general. This is easily his best performance; his performance in 'Cold War' was massively overhyped a few years back.

RatedRStar said...

=D Cold War in general was completely overhyped lol it won nearly every HK award that year lol

I like Tony Leung Ka-Fai best in any role where his ham is required like The Taking of Tiger Mountain, Men Suddenly in Black, Jiang Hu, Eye In The Sky and 92 Legendary La Rose Noire, as a normal leading man he is ok in films like Victim, Prison On Fire, Double Vision where he is very low key. I would say his performance in Cold War is fine certainly not the correct HK winner for best actor though, its certainly entertaining in a bombastic way.

I actually think Ka-Fai is weakest in supporting roles where he often seems a bit miscast in nice guy roles that require warmth.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: One more thing to ask, could you watch this trailer and tell me what you think? it isnt for a HK film its for something very different, I think its a pretty great trailer for a film you may need to see when you come to the particular bonus year.

in fact most people here will like this trailer I think =D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6504eRh5h6M

Louis Morgan said...

RatedRStar:

That's a brilliant trailer, though a funny thing about it is the Kubrick quote is taken a bit out of context.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: I saw this trailer a month ago and it's easily the best I've seen all year. :)

Anonymous said...

That trailer is great, strangely enough the performance I am most fascinated by is the young Napoleon, that shot of his tearful face is just heartbreaking.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: With Alternate Lead, are you gonna choose your 10 personal choices or let the readers give their top 3 picks for a place in the lineup.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Have you seen Beast Machines, the sequel to Beast Wars? If so, your thoughts on it and the cast.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Would you consider doing a supporting actor lineup for 1927 or combining the 1920s supporting years together as I reckon that the young Napoleon actor could be a great choice for a review unless you didn't think much of his brief 2 shots in the trailer?

Calvin Law said...

Saw Arrival.

Wow.

Wow.

Wow.

On a more coherent note, Adams is brilliant, everything else you'd expect from Villenueve is there, and it'll be around my 1 - 3 range at this point.

Calvin Law said...

Also,

Adams: 5
Renner: 3
Whitaker: 3

Luke Higham said...

I see that Byung-Hun got raised to a 4.5 for I Saw The Devil. Looks like a good omen for his upcoming review.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, I know you've praised The Thin Red Line's cinematography before, but do you have any specific thoughts on it?

94dfk1 said...

Anyone think Hunt for The Wilderpeople has a shot a Best Comedy nomination at the Golden Globes? Just saw and I really liked it. The only movies I can think of that will most likely crack that category are Florence Foster Jenkins and of course, La La Land.

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Who would you cast as Bruce Robertson in a 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s version of Filth? I actually discovered the film through this blog BTW, and I was blown away by McAvoy.

Calvin Law said...

94dfk1: I hope it does. My favourite comedy of the year, easily, so far.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your ratings and thoughts on the cast of Matilda.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

There will be certain performances that will be reviewed no matter what, so it depends on how many performances like that there are this year.

Wilson - 2(She just was about the prototypical bad type of child actor as she went about making facial reactions and emphasizing lines that would be great in a commercial I suppose though come off rather awkwardly in a film. There always feels like that attempt to be endearing rather merely being endearing. She's not truly terrible, but she's just never very good either.)

DeVito - 3(Strange that he gives the warm narration and plays the contemptible father. He does both fairly well though.)

Perlman - 3(She is also enjoyable enough at being rather one note for much of the film, though she actually does naturally add a little bit of something more in her last.)

Davidtz - 3(She brings the right type of natural warmth to the part, and avoids becoming overly "goody good" about it. She makes it a bit more honest than that, and makes up for some of Wilson's shortcomings)

Ferris - 3.5(I know some that absolutely love her performance. I'm not quite there but I do still enjoy it. She's wholly one note yet that is a rather entertaining note as she brings such intensity to the role of the maniacal principal. She never winks about and that conviction ends up being quite amusing)

Anonymous:

I've seen a few episodes but did not care for it.

Matt:

Never has nature looked more beautiful on film and adds so much thematically as you see essentially its purity against the carnage of war. What Toll and Malick managed to capture in their shots is often downright breathtaking as they found so much that those jungles had to offer with every change in the sky, and every bit of light piercing through the trees. Then there is the composition which is equally impressive as you could almost take any shot from the film, and it would be worthy of a painting.

94dk1:

I would hope so, the Globes can sometimes go for some off the wall choices, and that would be a good off the wall choice for a change. As it stands the obvious choices seem La La Land and Jenkins and maybe 20th Century Women.

For Filth:

70's:John Hurt
80's:Jeremy Irons
90's:Robert Carlyle
00's:Ewan McGregor

Calvin Law said...

Louis: you're probably a bit bogged down with Film Thoughts, so apologies, but if you've ever the time, I'd love to read your thoughts and ratings on all the Rocky films.

Alex Marqués said...

A question for the people who's seen Arrival: how does it compare to Interstellar?

Calvin Law said...

More clinical and precise and the emotional impact is more understated. I don't think they're thematically all that similar though and thus hard to compare.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Noted.

Alex:

As a film I preferred Arrival, though I think both films the directing is stronger than the writing. I can see the comparison in both have perhaps a cold aesthetic surrounding a heavy heart in the center of it all, personified through a daughter to the main character. Arrival though is a bit more subtle in that regard when compared to Interstellar, there's no speeches about how love transcends all things for example.

94dfk1 said...

No such speeches are found in Arrival? Now I'm REALLY sold on the film.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Who's your choice for the next Bond.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And your thoughts on the Beauty And The Beast trailer.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Craig. I know I know, but I'd take the chance for another Skyfall/Casino Royale even if there is a risk of a Quantum/Spectre. But to really answer your question Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The trailer looked okay. I mean it has the music so that's already a major boon. To be honest from the trailer I'm looking forward to Luke Evans the most, especially after hearing him sing elsewhere. The beast to a certain extent and the servants especially looked a bit off to me. The rest of the production design though looks pretty nice though. Also Thompson and Stevens seem like they're just imitating their predecessors, which I'll forgive more for Stevens since they're clearly trying to make the beast look exactly the same, plus it's hard to top Benson in that role. Watson, I'm not sure about since it looks like she might be sticking with her overemphasizing everything style of acting.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your updated top ten lists for your 10 favorite male leading and supporting performances of all time.

Louis Morgan said...

They have not changed since when I updated supporting in 83 results, and the original lead in Hopper's review for Blue Velvet.

Alex Marqués said...

Louis: what about your top 30-11? (if it's not much to ask of course)