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Perth

Djinn casts a bleak eye on his home country with "Perth," tale of a disillusioned cab driver whose dreams of emigrating to Western Australia end in tragedy. Helmer-writer's first regular feature shuttles between local conversational humor, nicely atmospheric scenes and wild over-acting. But there's a nascent talent at work that may find fulfillment in the helmer's next outing.

With:
With: Lim Kay-tong, Liu Qiulian, Ivy Cheng, Victory Selvam, Sunny Pang, Kevin Murphy, Timothy Ngah, Ong Chuen-boon, Apache Ong, Catherine Tan.

Singapore-born, now L.A.-resident Djinn (aka Djinn Ong) casts a bleak eye on his home country with “Perth,” tale of a disillusioned cab driver whose dreams of emigrating to Western Australia end in tragedy. Helmer-writer’s first regular feature, after no-budget, DV horror pic “Return to Pontianak” (which played some fests), shuttles between local conversational humor, nicely atmospheric scenes and wild over-acting. But there’s a nascent talent at work that may find fulfillment in the helmer’s next outing.

Middle-aged Harry Lee (Lim Kay-tong) is pinkslipped from a shipyard and starts over as a cabbie, still fantasizing about moving to Perth. His ex-wife (Liu Qiulian) shafted him financially, and his grown son (Kevin Murphy) despises him; his only soul mate is fellow cabbie Selva (Victory Selvam), who shares his bleak view of Singaporean life. When an entrepreneurial friend, Angry Boy Lee (Sunny Pang, good), gets him a job driving up-market hookers to clients, Harry falls for one, a Vietnamese called Mai (Ivy Cheng), with eventually bloody results. Ending is way too over-the-top, and some of the dialect-heavy dialogue will resonate only with local viewers, but tech package (blown up from Super-16) is fine.

Perth

Singapore

Production: A Shaw Bros. (Singapore) release of a Singapore Film Commission, Working Man Films presentation, in association with Ground Glass Images, of a Working Man Films production. Produced by Duncan Jepson, Damon Chua, Juan Foo. Executive producers, Charmaine Li, Keith Jepson, Wai Kin Chan, Nissim Tse, Richard Eu, Ilyas Khan, Sharon Ross Tse. Directed, written by Djinn.

Crew: Camera (color), Goh Meng-hing; editor, Bin Li; music, Marcello De Francisci; production designer, Andy Heng. Reviewed on videocassette, London, Dec. 5, 2004. (In 2004 Singapore Film Festival.) Singlish, Hokkien, Mandarin, Malay, Vietnamese dialogue. Running time: 111 MIN.

With: With: Lim Kay-tong, Liu Qiulian, Ivy Cheng, Victory Selvam, Sunny Pang, Kevin Murphy, Timothy Ngah, Ong Chuen-boon, Apache Ong, Catherine Tan.

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