Director: Samson Chiu
Cast: Sandra Ng, Eric Tsang, Tin Yui-lei, Andy Lau, Felix Wong
In the end of 2002, Hong Kong film market has experienced a short period of rejuvenation. In early December, the two blockbusters Infernal Affairs and Hero hit the theater and received immediate success. Then Golden Chicken came out as the second wave and provided a satisfactory wrap up for the year.
This is a biographical account of a prostitute called "Ah Gum" (Sandra Ng). From a fledgling to a well experienced "one apartment one phoenix", the story of Ah Gum is never insipid or colorless. As you might have gussed right, the title of this movie Golden Chicken refers to Ah Gum. In Cantonese, the word "chicken" is a slang that is similar to "whore" in English. The term "Golden chicken" can therefore be deciphered as the best prostitute. Ah Gum's life is encouraging. Although she is a prostitute, she would not consider it a shame. She respects her profession and never gives up. It is this virtue that the filmmakers wanted to preach. The message behind is very obvious - If Ah Gum, who belongs to the minority group of the society that possesses the lowest social status, can do it, everyone in Hong Kong, who is suffering from the economic recession and other hardships, should be able to get through!
The plot structure is the major attraction of this movie. Similar to the Hollywood blockbuster Forrest Gump (What is funny is that the protagonists of both films are called Gump/Gum) in which Forrest Gump's life is intertwined with the contempoarary history of US, our Ah Gum is also a witness of what happened in the past thirty years in Hong Kong. Certainly, talking about the profundity and depth of the movie, Golden Chicken is in no way comparable to Forrest Gump. Nonetheless, it is still a very satisfactory work, as the movie is not merely entertaining, but also reflects the culture of the people genuinely and contains certain introspective moments. The only flaw is probably the lack of research for the society in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Although the nostalgic setting is well constructed, it stresses too much on the entertainment business. We know it is talking about the 1970s and 1980s only because of the drama playing on the TV and the songs playing in the background. It is very different from the 90s scenes in which a much more detailed panorama of the society is presented.
Sandra Ng is hyper energetic in this movie. Yet I probably wouldn't agree that Ah Gum is her best portrayal of movie character. To me, her low profile but lively performance in Juliet in Love is still her most decent and appealing role. Compared to the overacted Ng, the all-star cameo appearance is in fact the crucial factor that marks the success of the movie. Eason Chan, Andy Lau, Felix Wong, Wu Jin, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Cheung Kin-ting, each of them is representative and unforgettable.
Golden Chicken is not a big budget production. It does not contain any magnificent computer special effects, nor does it have visual stunning cinematography. However, this is a work of charisma and sincerity. If you want to learn about the genuine domestic culture of Hong Kong, this is a movie you shouldn't miss.
Cool guy(s) - All male characters
Reviewed by: Kantorates