A drama-thriller centered on a democratic election within an organized crime society.
A drama-thriller centered on a democratic election within an organized crime society.
Eleição - O Submundo do Poder, Hei she hui, 黑社会1：龙城岁月, I triada, Election 1, エレクション, Longcheng suiyue, Election: Vol 1, Black Society, Election: Volume 1, Eleição, Hēi Shè Huì, 黑社会, Hak se wui, 흑사회
A not-so-friendly reminder that people who kill for a living are not romantic, or noble, or loyal, or cool, or any of the other things that they often appear to be in fiction. When I first saw this several years ago I think I allowed myself to get lost in the dense, sometimes confusing crime narrative (not just confusing to the audience - at one point one Triad member gets the shit beaten out of him by another, only to find out via a cell phone call that the guy was actually there to help him) to the point of losing that bigger picture. That was a mistake, as that unforgettable final sequence (I mean this literally, as it was…
traditions & power structures as fronts for primal barbarism -- power resides where men believe it resides... that is, until said men get their brains bashed in by the man with the bigger rock. doubles as a reminder that cinematic violence is so much more interesting when no one is carrying guns.
this was never a democracy.
The symbolic reality is what's important. You can break all the rules you want, as long as you maintain the form of the ritual.
dress up the barbarism all you'd like, it has always been and always will be about power.
The ending makes it all clear: it doesn't matter where or when you lose track of the proceedings, because all capitalist power struggles culminate somewhere, somehow in violence. Probably one of the smartest and most expertly timed conclusions I've ever seen.
Loved this film the first time I saw it (even as I near seeing all of To's films, this was in the top 10), but a rewatch confirms it as one of his pantheon productions. To's table shots always say so much about the personal and hierarchical connections between the characters sitting at them, and ELECTION overflows with such scenes. The opening alone sets the tone: where To's table scenes tend to unfold in long takes that observe shifting positions of deference and superiority, the meeting of Triad higher-ups of the same rank is chopped up into isolating close-ups for each member, an indication of each man's sense of superiority and refusal to defer even for a second to those…
"There were so many characters in the story/that looked alike that I lost track of the overall story."
-8 out of every dozen of reviews ever written for this film in IMDb and Letterboxd that cannot recognize Hong Kong faces
A rightful nomination for the Palme d'Or in 2005, To's invigorating examination of democratic organization and conflicts of interests within Hong Kong triads, with a couple of events even being based on the cast's own experiences with the triads, breaks all Western preconceptions about the genre and, rightfully borrowing from Scorsese, To finds his correct (and probably the highest peak of his own) balance between violent confrontations as collateral consequences and dramatic juxtapositions to accentuate a message that is deeply…
Hmmmm it’s almost like capitalism and democracy are at odds with one another.
In the shadows, macho men with macho nicknames play intense power games for literal control of a phallic baton. If it symbolizes anything, it's not tradition but absurdity (as absurd as eating a ceramic spoon). Shares with "The Wire" the idea that a 21st century gangster would spend as much time in economics classes as in vice dens (or maybe the two aren't so distinct?).
Tony Leung Ka Fai's over the top performance as "Big D" is possibly my favorite in any of the Johnnie To movies I've seen to date. There's almost a Klaus Kinski quality to how unhinged, unpredictable, and intense he is (which makes it doubly ironic and shocking when the most brutal act of violence in…
The scourge of democracy is human self-interest.
Johnnie To directs with a sure hand, spending his first two acts constructing a stylish, but not always consequential or impactful, syndicated crime opera that seems to be in service to the idea that the right leader can keep chaos at bay.
Then To drops the last act like an anvil, not only drastically increasing my engagement, but also deconstructing his apparent message and bringing home an even larger one.
Governance and power is a thing violent and brutal men take and hold, they can call that process democracy or anything else, but in the end, it's all just human self-interest.
I haven't really seen any other Johnnie To, but I think I am really going to like his films.
It seems that his specialty is gangster films, which I simply love.
Election seems to be unlike the rest of his films.
It is violent, but Election rather focuses on the inner problems of a Hong Kong mafia (or triad).
Every two years, a new chairman is elected president. Election focuses on two gang leaders who fight to become the new leader.
More of a political film about the mafia than a gangster film, it still is terrific.
Election is thrilling. Without any blood and massive shootouts, it manages to make your pulse beat faster.
While occasionally a violent scene will…
“We had an election. We can’t annul it because someone is unhappy.”
I’m still a Johnnie To novice (only seen Drug War and Mad Detective), but he seems to have the crime genre on lock. What of his should I set my sights on next?
When you really think about it, Organized crime is just one big game of Among Us.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
To be completely honest, I was way more engaged in this movie compared to Godfathers. (Maybe because I relate to the culture portrayed in this film more) The lighting in this film is ON POINT and I do not regret spending time to watch this classic.
There is no right or wrong in this film, one of the best moments for me was the scene where Big D and Lok were waiting for the traffic light to turn green, and Big D is reconsidering the terms Lok gave him. The visual storytelling paired with the simple yet effective sound design easily makes this one of my favourite scenes ever.
The characters were portrayed in a way that makes me hard…
Best movie ever!
Tensions are high in the triad thriller Election after an elect Jon makes triad member Lok the new leader of the Wo Sing Society, a role that rival gangster Big D wants. The Wo battle it out and play hot potato with a small baton, but the most striking thing about this film, I shit you not, is how the bloody gangsters have a more democratic means of electing their chairman than us Hong Kong citizens have in choosing our Chief Executive. Yes, the morally-corrupt criminals in the Hong Kong action film can hold a more fair election than the country it is set in. Even more satirically, the idea of candidate in an election not accepting the reukte of the…
This here was my second Johnnie To joint, the first being the superb Vengeance (which come to think of it was one of the first foreign films I ever saw).
The film does a good job of flipping the script to keep you wondering who to root for and there’s a few twists near the end that threw me for a few curves.
Great ending, not a compelling 2nd act
Johnnie To willingly letting this film get a 18+ CAT III rating bc of his refusal to cut a staging of an actual triad initiation ritual, only to have the film become one of the biggest domestic hits of the year is some next level mvp shit. this is one of the most patient and lived in gangster films I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing, and the ease with which it cuts (credit to HK new wave staple Patrick Tam Kar-Ming for his beautiful work) between nearly a dozen leads as they pass through smoky tea rooms (accentuated beautifully by Altman-esque zooms), night time machete fights and murky fluorescent prison cells make it as much a feat of editing…
not a Claire Film
This happened to my buddy Donald
On the surface it's obviously completely different from Election (1999), which was about a high school class president election, but don't fret because this Hong Kong triad war film is just as brutal!
說權力的電影都是說政治，只是黑幫的世界更直接了當。不過誰說政治不是搞到最後還是殺人解決呢？群戲非常精彩，沒有廢戲，每個角色都有亮點。有兩個不知道是不是bug的地方：1）大頭為什麼跑出車還滿身血？ 2）Jimmy 為什麼潑飛機白油和不讓火牛拿棍？他那麼想為自己老大報仇殺大d? 3）為什麼飛機想殺Jimmy？好歹救了他。因為不是交給火牛？無論如何，電影中的洪門比真實香港中的洪門講義氣多了，美國洪門總部19年那事後說香港洪門背祖忘宗，忘了洪門的gm 精神，不知道現在香港的洪門是什麼人。大概真洪門都移民了。
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