Hong Kong action maestro Johnnie To delivers a stylish 3D musical set around the 2008 financial crash.
In the crime and caper films of director Johnnie To, there’s always been a rhythmic element to how he composes procedural action or violent executions; were it not for the shakiness of the term’s definition, one might be inclined to incorporate 'musicality' when describing something like the climactic shootout mayhem of 2012’s Drug War or 2006's Exiled. As such, it’s not especially shocking that Hong Kong cinema's elder statesman has made a foray into the musical genre with Office. Nor is it surprising that this is very much a 'Johnnie To musical' in big, bold letters, as this is set around the 2008 financial crash. Shot in 3D! But it’s really fun!
The star-studded cast (including Chow Yun-fat) are great and the tunes catchy in the moment, if maybe not too memorable post-viewing, but the real highlight is the simultaneously bare-bones and elaborate modernist structures To places them in, production design perhaps best described as a blend of Lars von Trier’s Dogville and Jacques Tati’s Playtime, as incompatible as that sounds. [Josh Slater-Williams]