Review: ‘The Exodus’

A premise rippling with wicked comic possibilities receives stylish but only partly satisfying execution in "The Exodus."

A premise rippling with wicked comic possibilities receives stylish but only partly satisfying execution in “The Exodus,” multihyphenate Pang Ho-Cheung’s satirical thriller about a female conspiracy to rid the planet of men. While curiosity factor should propel the pic to festival appearances and midnight screenings, commercial prospects will be limited outside of Asian territories.

Sixth feature by the prolific Pang carries echoes of his third, 2004’s “Beyond Our Ken,” which also concerned a distaff revenge scheme. New pic begins promisingly, with Hong Kong police sergenat Yip (Johnnie To regular Simon Yam) interrogating a suspected peeping tom, who informs Yip he was eavesdropping on a women’s restroom where details of a sinister anti-male plot were being hatched. When the suspect subsequently retracts his statement following a meeting with a female officer, the initially skeptical Yip does some further investigating. This leads to several darkly amusing scenes in which Yip becomes suspicious of every woman he encounters, including his wife. Too much of the pic, however, unfolds as a straight-faced procedural, making for wild tonal inconsistencies and a sluggish third act. Accomplished tech package includes crisp widescreen lensing by d.p. Charlie Lam.

The Exodus

Hong Kong-China

Production

A Filmko Entertainment Limited presentation of a Making Films production. (International sales: Cineclick Asia, Seoul.) Produced by Stanley Tong, Pang Ho-Cheung. Co-producers, Gin Lau, Subi Liang. Directed by Pang Ho-Cheung. Screenplay, Pang, Cheuk Wan-Chi, Jimmy Wan.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Charlie Lam; editor, Stanley Tam; music, Gabriele Romero; production designer, Man Lim-Chung; sound (Dolby Digital), Steve Chan. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Vanguard), Sept. 10, 2007. (Also in San Sebastian, Pusan, Tokyo film festivals.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Simon Yam, Annie Liu, Nick Cheung, Irene Wan, Maggie Shiu, Candice Yu, Lam Ka-Tung, Jim Chim.

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