Time – The bits of the coil


At times a weird mix of tones, but ultimately the core performance and smooth action carries this “Golden Heart Assassin Grandpa” to the end.

Hong Kong actor Patrick Tse is something of a local legend. Known as much for his impressive career as a matinee idol as for his off-screen liaisons, his career as an actor, producer, screenwriter and director spans more than 60 years. TIME (殺出 個 黃昏) plays on this longevity, mixing some comments on ageism with a nod to classic Hong Kong cinema.

The premise may sound somewhat familiar, but here’s a movie that always walks to the beat of its own drum. Tse plays Chau, a hit man who now deals with euthanasia cases. Although he was no longer a classic assassin, his services proved to be very popular and earned him the nickname “Guardian Angel”.

The introduction of teenage Tsz-Ying (Suet-Ying Chung), who somewhat becomes Chau’s apprentice while dealing with her own fixation on death, completes the trope of the aging professional assassin. This brings the film into a set of surprisingly tender scenes, where the issues of Chau’s de facto family become a priority. Chau is ably (sort of) assisted by Ms. Fung (Bo-Bo Fung), who goes through her own struggles with her demanding and ungrateful children, and her unhealthy driver Chung (Suet Lam) seeks to thrive with a sex worker.


The resulting mixture means that there is a sometimes jarring tonal transition between the respective scenes, but unexpectedly allows for an exploration of euthanasia, ageism, loneliness, and even abortion before the time to go. relatively fast execution is not completed. With the main plot drama being relatively low-key, the viewer spends a bit more time contemplating some of these questions than the genre typically would allow.

TIME is ultimately a film conceived as a throwback to a bygone era, with a bit of humor at times cranky and an almost excessive amount of vocals (especially as the credits roll). Nonetheless, as Tse reaches the twilight of his career, it’s a nice coda for the screen icon.

IFFR 2021

2020 | Hong-Kong | DIRECTOR: Ricky ko | WRITERS: Ho Ching-yi, Lam Ka-tung | DISCARD: Patrick Tse, Petrina Fung, Lam Suet, Chung Suet-ying | DISTRIBUTOR: Lam Ka-toung, Rotterdam International Film Festival | OPERATING TIME: 99 minutes | RELEASE DATE: 2-6 June 2021 (IFFR)

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