Exiled (To, 2006)

Exiled, a beautiful and bizarre slice of Western lore served up Hong Kong style by director Johnnie To, flutters with cowboy iconography and codes of honor worthy of both John Woo and John Ford. This might be To’s purest expression of action yet, since he relies almost entirely on the tension built by montage and violence. Even though it’s drenched in powdery blood splatter, the film goes out of it’s way to connect the five assassin protagonists as boyhood friends forced back together to defeat their gangster boss, a distinct and effective basis in character which makes the action even more exciting. My only gripe with the film lies in it’s disregard for plausibility (in terms of story) and dependance on a magical realism of sorts, a strange tonal compliment considering the clashing genres at work. This aesthetic gets tiresome by the end, a jarring approach thankfully soothed by the film’s brilliant Western score and memorable layered action scenes. Another solid effort by today’s most ambitious master of mise-en-scene.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s