We all know that Quentin Tarantino is considered one of the most influential directors of the 21st century. In ‘Once upon a time in Hollywood’, his last film, he mastered the art of theatric projection into a motion picture, a thing that is hard to be reproduced. Nate Ki took a shot in doing so and made the most out of an idea that seemed unappealing at first.
In ‘Once upon a time…in Sai Wan’, life has a different speed – everything develops and builds up in a fast forward motion. The narrative relies on a deception that, as expected, takes some turns until the whole story paints a picture of Tarantinoesque fashion. The narrative happens in 1989 when there were some rumors that money would become joss paper after a delivery guy returned from delivery at a building that was prone to be dissembled. Everyone was horrified about this, and they firmly believed that it was because of unnatural spirits.
The characters are very well crafted, being in a total opposition with each other, a thing that in the end makes them way more appealing. All of the characters are at the same time interesting and generic, just like some peculiar saints that were not allowed into heaven, and have to complete some chores before being allowed to enter. While the narrative has some ups and downs in terms of pace, it is precisely how one would want it to be in a film of this kind. The perfect comparison for the craziness ‘Once upon a time…in Sai Wan’ delivers is with Ibrahim Maalouf’s song called ‘Beirut’ – from the beginning you get the overall reference of the song, and as the time goes by, everything builds up until the last part comes to give the whole composition a new and unexpected ending. ‘Once upon a time…’ shines bright when it comes to editing and cinematography, making the entire project be one of grand perspective.
Written by Vlad A. G