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無問旅程 (1999)
Slow Fade

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 04/15/2000
Summary: Fair effort.

Slow Fade is much more interesting and fast-paced than the typical "art" film, but is also not as entertaining as it's subject matter might have allowed. There isn't enough focus, and not enough reason to sympathize with the plight of the protagonist. The film is mainly a stylistic exercise for Daniel Chan, and while some of the techniques he employs help to hold your attention, others don't seem to have much point. The experimentation and some of the story elements (the seemingly imaginary woman who puts in three pointless appearances, for instance) give the impression of an unfocused student film. The people involved obviously cared about the product, but with a more economical script it could've been both more entertaining and more insightful.

Reviewed by: ryan
Date: 11/21/1999
Summary: Slow Fade (1999)

During the past two years, with the local industry going through hard times, independent films have had a chance to enjoy more prominence in theatres. To follow Fruit CHAN's 'Made in Hong Kong' and 'The Longest Summer', we now have Daniel CHAN's 'Slow Fade'. With the use of performers from the younger generation, they hope to bring a brighter future for the film industry.

'Slow Fade' depicts a transition, as Greg (Ken WONG Hap-hey) tries to change his life. He and his best buddy Alex (WONG Ka-lok) have joined an illegal gangs headed by Mr. WU (KAM Kwok-leung). One day, after he has become an addict and ended up in hospital, he he decides to try and put aside his old life as he is going to marry Shannon (AU Chi-yan). But Shannon is killed in a car accident and Greg becomes totally depressed.

He finally finds Kim (HO Chiu-yee), a girl working in the 'Century 21' nightclub. He tries to change himself totally by getting a new identity, Fin, but will it be so easy for Greg to put his life of crime behind him? One day he decides to take Kim away from the nightclub, and negotiates with another crime boss Mr. CHAN (Roy CHEUNG Yiu-cheung)......

If you have seen the cinema lobby advertising, you will probably have realised that 'Slow Fade' is a kind of art film rather than a commercial film. Hence, you have to put some extra effort into watching the movie or you will fall asleep in theatre.

The most outstanding aspect of 'Slow Fade' is its cinematography. Much of the time the lighting is stronger than reality. They also play lots of tricks with different cameras. The whole idea of the process of slow fading in Greg's life comes over best through this visual expression. However, sometimes the tricks get repetetive and become a little hard to swallow.

WONG Ka-lok's performance is surprising. He acts as a killer, Alex, who has been good friends with Greg for years but acts cool and vicious to his enemies. WONG presents both sides of the character well.

The performances of Ken WONG Hap-hey and HO Chiu-yee are both okay. HO Chiu-yee could have done with some more material to get her teeth into. In the movie, she provides the turing point for Greg/Fin, to start and end the 'Slow Fade'. If she had a bigger role with more depth it might be be easier to follow the movie.

Roy CHEUNG Yiu-yeung's role is cool. Roy has been in lots of movies as bad guy, but it's interesting to see him as bad guy in a suit!

In short, 'Slow Fade' is a kind of art movie meant to depict the process of change for a person caught ip in the world of crime. The visual cinematography is strong but a bit hard to digest. Filmgoers should prepare themselves before they watch this movie.

The tone of the whole story is dark, perhaps too dark. Maybe the director does this deliberately, to show off the cinematography or the whole idea. Personally, I'd consider it more interesting a bit of fluctation, to make it more entertaining and easier to swallow.