Life Without Principle tells the story of three characters: an ordinary bank teller turned financial analyst is forced to sell high risk securities to her customers in order to meet her sales target; a small-time thug delves into the futures index hoping to earn easy money to post bail for a buddy in trouble with the law; a straight-arrow Police inspector, who has always enjoyed his middle income lifestyle, is suddenly desperate for money when his wife puts a down payment on a luxury flat she can’t afford and his dying father wants him to look after a young half-sister he never knew he had. —Venice Film Festival
Following his directorial debut with the 1980 period martial arts fantasy The Enigmatic Case, To’s career came to something of an apex in the late 1980s thanks to such memorable action films as The Big Heat and tender, personal dramas like All About Ah-Long (the latter of which landed star Chow Yun-Fat a Best Actor award at the 1990 Hong Kong Film Awards). After taking the helm for such memorable action films as The Heroic Trio and directing Stephen Chow in such films as Justice, My Foot and Mad Monk in the early ‘90s, To moved into producing with the creation of independent film company Milky Way Films, a company which yielded such popular Hong Kong action efforts as Nai-hoi Yau’s The Longest Nite and Expect the Unexpected. Though To’s production company was indeed a success, his career behind the camera was in need of some rejuvenation, an issue which he readily addressed with the release of his highly praised 1999 crime drama The Mission.
Utilizing convention as a springboard… read more
Always invest in HK master Johnnie To, risk-free. This is a wicked suspenseful drama about finance with a generous serving of noir shadows, a subtle sense of humour and compassion for humanity faded between banknotes and numbers. Robert Altman would approve. Bonus: the tight situations are emphasized by the sticky Kowloon streets atmosphere which has never been more palpable on screen.
A reminder of just how vital Johnnie To is to Hong Kong cinema. The story is new territory for To as it's more of a drama set in the high-stakes world of finance than it is a crime thriller - although there are crime elements too. The sequence that Jack Lehtonen singles out, in which Denise Ho convinces an elderly woman to put her limited pension in a 'high stakes' investment, is literally one of the best acted and directed sequences I've witnessed all year.
Overviews of the Museum of the Moving Image series: 13 features and seven shorts, nearly all of them New York premieres.
“Relentless and exciting, and expansive in its critique of the various ways institutions screw the individual.”
English Title: Life Without Principle
Original Title: Dyut meng gam
Country: Hong Kong
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Johnnie To
Writers… read review
Johnnie To brings us a slice of action but in the world of money. Can you live your life without seeing this movie or will it all come down to your own principles. Lets take a look.
The film… read review