Port of Call – Reel Asian 2015


A Hong Kong detective tries to decipher the motive behind a gruesome murder in . A sixteen year old prostitute named Wang Jiamei (Jessie Li) is found brutally murdered and dismembered. Even though an overweight man named Chi-chung Ting (Michael Ning) quickly turns himself in for the crime, Officer Chong (Aaron Kwok), the detective in charge of the case, becomes obsessed with trying to figure out why Ting would commit this horrible crime.

Port of Call is a Hong Kong crime thriller directed by Philip Yung (Glamorous Youth) and featuring cinematography by Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love). The goal of film is to try and decipher why people commit the terrible crimes that they do. The film features a narrative that moves back and forth in time, between the events leading up to Jiamei's murder and Officer Chong's investigation of the crime. Since the killer is revealed quite early in the story, the film is less about who did the crime and more about why they did it.

While Port of Call can probably be best described as a detective story, the film does have some very disturbing violent imagery, which almost causes the film to cross into the horror genre. However, these moments do add a chilling tone to this story, which is ultimately about what goes on in the mind of a killer. It is easy to doubt that the shy, overweight Ting would be capable of this crime, so seeing it play out was definitely very effective. Because of these violent moments, the film is not for everyone, however that doesn't make Port of Call any less of a compelling crime thriller.

8 / 10 stars
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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.