Eye For Film >> Movies >> Life Without Principle (2011) Film Review
Life Without Principle
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
The prolific Johnnie To turns his attentions to the banking crisis for his latest comedy/crime drama.
"Greed is human nature," says one of his charcters - and To is out to expose it and punish it in all of its forms.
A convoluted plot involving flashbacks, the Greek banking crisis, a potentional gas explosion and a robbery gone bad are just some of the situations To uses to explore the tenets of Henry David Thoreau's essay Life Without Principle.
A triumvirate of stories are woven together. The first concerns a principled detective (To regular, Richie Ren), who outside of work, is in a stand-off about investing in an expensive flat with his fiancee (Myolie Wu). A second - and the backbone of the film - sees banker (Denise Ho), who is facing the axe if she doesn't sell more high-risk investment products to unsuspecting customers, get the opportunity to make some quick cash. The third and most enjoyable, sees the excellent Lau Ching-wan offering some high comedy as triad Panther, whose lack of greed and general naivety see him haplessly career through the movie, somehow always ending up on top.
There's too much going on for any of it to realise its full potential, and the script takes an age to come to the boil. Enjoyable to a point but frustratingly convoluted at times - and with ill-advised flashbacks in time - there is enough to make this worth a look but insufficient to elevate it to a place among To's best work.Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2012