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Lily and Chen move from Hong Kong to London to make their fortune.
Enterprising Lily runs her own restaurant but she fails to persuade Chen who prefers the security of a job as a waiter in Londons Chinatown.
Soho which forms the backdrop of much of the action, is Britains nerve centre for the Chinese Mafia the Triads. In the back streets and illicit gambling dens, the film gives a rare insight to the Machiavellian exchanges between rival Triad gangs. Trying to pay off his fathers gambling debts; the innocent Chen accepts money from a Triad member, only to find that he is expected to pay for it by doing a heroin run.
Terrified, he falls in with Lilys plan to move away and start up a business.
However back in Soho a high ranking Triad member is planning to overthrow his leader, and Chens unpaid debt could turn him into a pawn in a horrifying violent power struggle.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some things still shine through, mainly due to the lead actress who is compelling and provides an emotional root that stops you from being too frustrated by the story wobbles. I wish the film worked better but it feels rushed and or careless, inconsistent and confusing. The book had none of that. But it is still worth watching for the lead actress and the fact that it is still the UK's only film that features prominent Chinese characters. It deserves a remake with more attention to detail and a script that honours the book but makes sense in its own right.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Some reviewers call this movie a comedy, but i lean more to another description i found, that of a crime drama. The Chinese gang starts to threaten early on; scenes of violence are short, but utmost brutal, making me frantically search for the remote control. The movie also cuts out some of the comedic scenes from the book, including the driving lessons, the first trips by car and a trip to the airport; while suffering and stress are amply shown. Scriptwriter Ian McEwan invented a few scenes in the marital bed; they are completely family-friendly and mostly show how the superficially demure lady of the house can be very determined.
When i read the book i found the ongoings within the crime syndicate difficult to follow; in the moview, some things seemed even more cryptic to me. The movie picks up a few other threads from the book without sufficient explanation.
The 4:3 picture was of very good quality, i also enjoyed the full, hi-res sound. My DVD contained another non-related short film, but no more material related to the main movie, including no subtitles whatsoever.