Creative in its typical inner-gangland warfare plot, and detailed if overburdened in its gangster politics, this is one of master Director Johnnie To's few overrated films, due to its indifferent emotional stakes. Once Election lingers on just a few characters instead of what seems like countless, the film has a lingering and devastating emotional power. If only the whole film had that same wallop.
The plot was pretty generic and the symbolism was a little too thick at times. The staging, the lighting and the general quality of the cinematography however was stunning. That in itself made it a nice viewing experience. It made me hungry for more Johnnie To so if you have tips on which ones are better, let me know!
My first venture into the world of Johnnie To was plenty successful. Election is much more interesting than most crime films, as the violence isn't the priority of the storytelling. Most of the time is dealt with the planning and the process, with a few key scenes devoted to the unavoidable violence, namely the beautifully choreographed machete scene.
"Johnnie To's gritty take on triad warfare is full of cinematic storytelling, deadpan absurdities, and disturbingly cool criminals. [Taking] a done-to-death Hong Kong genre and present[ing] it in a relevant, accomplished fashion ... Election possesses a quiet, cinematically gripping verve." - LoveHKfilm.com
An amazing film. Many characters yet even the least are fully formed. The twists and turns and newly formed alliances will make your head spin but its worth the discomfort. Sudden graphic violence that stuns in its intensity. The machete street fight is the ballet of violence in its purest form. The ending says everything that needs to be said about Triad life...and death.
This film keeps you guessing all the way to the stunning ending -- easily ranks as one of my all-time gangster/crime films. If you enjoy this one you should check out the companion Triad Election (2006) which does a good job of connecting the criminal activities to a rising China's economic activities (think of the 2008 Italian film Gomorrah's portrayal of organized crime and global capitalism)
This film is not one i would normally watch and I quite enjoyed it's insight into The Triads. There were some very creative improvisational murder methods which I won't forget in a hurry. Beautifully shot and some of the production design is very good. Its representation of this type of existence was very good, although I am not particularly interested in watching the sequel.