Review – The Longest Nite

The Longest Nite

Patrick Yao

1998

The two head families of organised crime in Macau are on the verge of war. Trying to keep the situation under control is Sam, a corrupt cop working for one of the families. Through the day and night Sam meets Tony, a mysterious stranger who has business in town. Sam immediately takes a disliking to Tony and through the day of escalating violence and tension, their paths cross many times.

The Longest Nite cannot but remind you of the old John Woo and Ringo Lam films from the eighties and early nineties. Clearly these films are its target: what it aims for. It doesn’t succeed.

The film is very short, only about 80 minutes, but it manages to confuse the action so much that you hardly know who is working for whom. It has one female character that is so caricatured and aggressively treated by the men that at some points it made me want to switch off. Because Tony Leung is a great actor, his character is convincing and interesting. We don’t know how to feel about him, he clearly has no morals, ordering a suspected man’s fingernails to be pulled out before he is killed, but because of the actor’s skill he is not a totally hated character. His performance is the highlight.

One personal problem I had with the film (this is the most subjective thing you will ever read in a film review) is when Sam goes into a restaurant, where Tony is eating, and starts pummelling a man’s hands with a bottle of ketchup. Tony just sits there, eating his minestrone soup. The way he eats his soup is so irritating it made me not care what happens to him. I can’t explain it. It was like nails on the blackboard.

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