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June 23, 2015

Cross

cross-2012-3.jpg

Dai6 Leok6 Gaai3
Daniel Chan, Steve Woo, Lau Kin Ping and Hui Shu Nin - 2012
Well Go USA Entertainment Region 1 DVD

If there was a film that really needed a "Making of" supplement, this could well be an extreme example. Begun in 2010 by writer-director Daniel Chan, the film was completed the following year by Steve Woo, Lau Kin Ping and Hui Shu Nin. I have not found any information as to what happened during the production. As Chan is still alive and has completed three films since that time, I might guess that there was a possible difference of opinion with the producer of Cross, that has both shortened the running time with a significant amount of footage being replayed as part of of several flashbacks, and has provided the story with a resolution that leaves a few plot holes.

The basic premise may be troubling for some. Simon Yam is a devout Catholic, whose wife commits suicide rather than endure the pain of dying from leukemia. At the wife's funeral, the priest presiding over the burial unsubtly reminds Yam that suicide is considered a sin, and it's up to the discretion of God as to whether the wife will be allowed into heaven. Racked with guilt about how the wife died, Yam finds a website, an online forum of people contemplating suicide. Some of these people seem to be in hopeless situations. Rather than letting these people sin against the church as his wife did, Yam turns into a serial killer, murdering these people to keep them from killing themselves. It seems like an extreme case of euthanasia, rationalized by Yam. Due to one of the killings being a bit messy, Yam turns himself in to the police.

Where the narrative gets even messier than the murders is when there is the suggestion that Yam was manipulated in killing his victims. There is one plot line that is left dangling. The other plot line that appears to provide an explanation still has lapses in logic. It's as if the producer decided to cut his losses by presenting something that almost runs the length of a feature, what with the re-used scenes and about five minutes of closing credits, and hoped that no one noticed that none of the filmmakers who followed Chan were really paying attention to what had transpired in the first forty-five minutes.

Chan's screenplay was a prize winner at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in 2010, so I have to wonder what was originally intended here. The only interview excerpt I could find from Chan has him discussing his love for Hong Kong gangster films. Whether intended or not, there is some connection here to that very Catholic filmmaker, Alfred Hitchock, though not with his priest in peril, I Confess, but with Stage Fright, and its reminder to the audience to not not believe what they see.

Posted by peter at June 23, 2015 08:19 PM