Friday, April 1, 2011

Leslie Cheung: In Memoriam

R.I.P Gor Gor (Sept.12, 1956- April 1, 2003)


The above scene in Cheung's 2000 film, DOUBLE TAP, is one of my favorite HK cinema scenes of all time. It is the first scene that immediately springs to mind when someone mentions Cheung's name. I truly believe his emotions in this scene are actual and not acting. The emotions are palpable and really shook me upon first seeing the film years ago.


Here is a cheesy little review I did for back in 2001 when I first saw the film. It's one of my earliest reviews and it shows:

Atmosphere plays heavily in this creepy psychological/horror/gun flick. Sure the characters aren't well defined but they rarely are in HK cinema. The mood of the film, which plays very downbeat, adds to the anguish of Leslie Cheung's character. His portrayal of a mentally disturbed 'gun-king' is very intense. Scenes of his attempts at suicide singe your memory and are still there days later. Double Tap's Leslie Cheung rivals Lau Ching-Wan's slightly touched character in Ringo Lam's 'The Victim". Another psychological character study that switches off the brain of it's lead and a film with an equally unsettling atmosphere. Double Tap, warts and all, is definitely worth a look, and to it's detractors, try it again.

It's a crap review but it follows my rules: KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Because that is what I am. Simple and stupid. =)


  1. That clip is as tough to watch as some of the scenes in Inner Senses. Leslie was a consummate actor, but the pain was definitely real. I can't help but wonder what he would be doing now if he were still alive.

    BTW, I didn't know you wrote for cityonfire. Nice capsule review! Long reviews bore me, especially ones that recount the plot. Just boil it down to the essence and throw in some screen caps and you'll make me happy reader. :)

  2. The three movies that come to mind the most when I think of Leslie are "Days of Being Wild", "He's a Woman, She's a Man" and "Happy Together" -- and I think it's telling that two of them are on the depressing side.

    There's definitely a sense, especially in view of his suicide, that Leslie tapped into some very genuine emotions whenever he portrayed depressed, suicidal people. At the same time, I really do hope that he did genuinely have some moments of happiness and joy in his all too short life too.

  3. Great remembrance. In my blog, I commemorate people's birthdays, but I'm totally cool with your approach. My top movies starring Leslie Cheung are "The Bride With White Hair" and "Ashes of Time." But the other films mentioned are certainly fine examples of his performances also. RIP Leslie. You're still missed.

  4. duriandave, I still haven't seen Inner Senses. I came across my vcd of it the other day and I put it in my 'to watch' pile. So, I will eventually get around to it. Maybe?

    I used to write for many moons ago, when I first forayed into writing reviews. I started out with simple reviews like this one but ventured out into longer, more detail oriented ones. And that is where the fun stopped. It was all labor and no love so I eventually abandoned the reviews and just began posting short capsule or 'bullet' reviews on the forum. Long reviews are such a drag. I'm with you on the short reviews. ALL the way. Screencaps are a bonus too! Though paper publications are dead, I have always longed to write a book full of bullet reviews of HK CAT III/expoitation films. Quick and fun.

    YTSL, I also think of Happy Together as well. I have only seen the film once in an arthouse theater around 1998ish? At the time I was only familiar with Leslie through a handful of his films, most notably, A Better Tomorrow. The simple strand of homosexuality in the film was a complete afterthought to Tony and Leslie's performances in this love story. It is one of WKW's best films, IMO. I really should watch it again.

    Stan, thanks. Leslie's passing date is something that is usually beheld each year and I just felt it was fitting to give a slight nod to his wonderful career and life. I am also a fan of The Bride With White Hair and miss films like that having such a wild energy. Ashes of Time, for me, is incoherent and self indulgent. I put on the bottom shelf of WKW's work, right next to My Blueberry Nights. Both were actaully raspberries =)


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