This is one of those unexpected delights that pops up from time to time.
Beyond Our Ken is a small story about the friendship between the titular Ken’s (Daniel Wu) ex-girlfriend, Chan (Gillian Chung), and his present paramour, Shirley (Höng Tao). Ken does not appear to be a terribly nice chap, and has apparently posted naked pictures of Chan on the internet. The girls get together to help Chan exact some kind of revenge, and form a strong bond whilst doing so. If that was all the movie was about it would be great – but there is a final twist in the tale that raises it to fantastic.
Ho-Cheung Pang creates an almost voyeuristic view on proceedings. For good portions of the movie you feel you are eavesdropping on private conversations.
He also shows huge range, able to display moments of drama, emotion and high comedy. I hear many good things about his other films, and will be eagerly searching them out.
The real highlight of the movie is the realistic portrayal of the growing friendship between the two girls. Even when the final act twist occurs, you still feel, despite it all, they are going to remain firm friends. Both girls are fantastic, and C-Pop star Chung is far from overshadowed by her co-star. In fact, this is easily the best performance I have seen by her.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the irony of Gillian Chung’s character being exposed in compromising positions online. I guess sometimes life really DOES imitate art. But the movie was made well before the scandal, so I guess we have to mark it down as one of life’s little ironies.
Please don’t get the idea that the film is seedy – far from it. But is is honest, cynical, subtle and wonderful.