Worthy but flawed
Ann Hui goes for the big guns here, but ends up making a rather cheesy and overly sentimental drama that fails to impress. It's as if she wanted to relive the heydays of Yimou Zhang's work, but lacked Zhang's talent to keep the sentiment under control. The result is an overly long film that drags things out unnecessarily.
The Golden Era ends up being China's answer to Hollywood kitsch. Slow and overstated camera work, overbearing drama that lacks subtlety, a score that is a tearjerker's dream and an epic story that spans half a lifetime. And a 3-hour running time, so even when you aren't impressed by the film itself, you'll be hard-pressed to forget about it afterwards.
It's not all bad though. The actors do a nice job and some stand-alone scenes do work well. The problem is that they're not highlights of climaxes within the film, put just part of the constant onslaught of drama. I'm not a big Hui fan to begin with, but at least her usual mix of character drama and genre cinema offers something unique, this film sadly doesn't.
A very middle of the road crime flick by Ann Hui. Sadly the drama doesn't work that well, which depraves the ending from its power. The acting is decent, there are a couple of solid scenes and it's a rather inoffensive film, at the same time it's also completely forgettable. Okay filler, but nothing more than that.
Somewhat tepid and simplistic drama by Ann Hui. The film looks nice for a 90s Hong Kong film, but the drama between a grandfather and his visiting grandson is hardly substantial. The acting is poor, the film is predictable and there's absolutely nothing that makes this one stand out. Not terrible, just forgettable.
The Shaw Bros didn't release many dramas, but with Ann Hui in the director seat that's what you're getting. At times it reminded me a little of In The Mood for Love, but the film lacks good direction and without any stand-out elements it's just another tepid drama in Hui's extensive oeuvre. Decent but way too basic.
Starts off as a social drama, turns into a crime flick during the second half. The problem is that the actors have no dramatic impact and that Hui is not much of a crime director. Both genres do little to strengthen each other, though the crime elements do improve the pacing of the film. It's not terrible, but unless you're a Hui or Fat fan it's a hard recommend.
Ann Hui doing social drama. I'm sure she means well, but she's just not very fit to direct these films. The actors aren't good enough (even Kang-sheng Lee disappoints), visually it's a complete graveyard and drama is too predictable and overwrought. The running time is the final nail in its coffin. A disappointing film, not Hui's best.
Pretty unattractive and tepid drama by Ann Hui. I'm not getting along very well with Hui's older work, though I had slight hopes because Song of the Exile featured Maggie Cheung. While Cheung's performance is fine, the rest of the film really isn't and even though it's pretty short, it still dragged a lot.