Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang YangWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
NACinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Ming Ming", The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg", "Confidence"
Milky Way movies always have some sort of charm to them - same goes for Johnnie To movies. While "Sparrow" is more style than substance, To's delightful camerawork make it worth the while, even if it's just for the aesthetics.
Diverting from the usual crime genre, "Sparrow" goes for the musical feel. Its central characters, a band of pickpockets who comb the streets of Hong Kong, are always floating about, adjusting their hair and looking ever so likely to break into song at any moment. The jazzy score confirms the direction. The leader played by Simon Yam heads Gordon Lam, Law Wing Cheong and Kenneth Cheung, as they go about in leisure to further their criminal enterprise. However, they seem more interested in riding bicycles, eating fried rice and photographing landscapes more than anything else.
So do not be fooled - this is not an action movie. By the time Kelly Lin waltzes into Simon Yam's viewfinder, the story gets more romantic. She prances about exuding false mystery, while we get semi-sucked into a lot of background about some tycoon mobster she's whored herself to.
Dreamy and very fleeting, "Sparrow" is a date movie for couples skipping work on a weekday. For more serious cineastes, its intended lack of depth might irk a few. It's also strange to see so much of Kelly Lin these days. Malaysians seem to get a hold of many of her recent movies like "Mad Detective" and "Triangle". It can be a case of miscasting because Lin's screen persona does not measure up to the star appeal needed for some of her roles. She could pull off being the triad moll in "Boarding Gate" alongside Asia Argento but in "Sparrow", it seems unlikely that her demure looks can get a rise out of so many men, let alone fool them into doing her bidding.
Much like her, the movie itself isn't a head-turner. "Sparrow" makes good home cinema viewing for lazy Sunday afternoons. No conventional romance in this here heist - just some excellent photography of birds and bicycles.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008