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LIMBO (2021, CHN) – 7/10

The extremely dark Hong Kong thriller premiered out of competition in Berlin, and the brutality and violence of “Limbo” reminded me of the equally “fierce” and bloody Korean revenge thrillers that were filmed fifteen years ago. The name “Limbo” was definitely not chosen by chance because Hong Kong almost looks like Sin City or Gotham City in the stylized black and white photo. Like every true neon noir, the plot of “Limba” mostly takes place at night, and in a kind of limbo, or purgatory, before going to hell, there is the Jesus police inspector Cham Lau (Gordon Lau). This tormented detective seems to have given up on life a long time ago after a young drug addict Wong To (Cya Liu) ran over his wife and daughter a few years ago.

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Cham is full of rage, and when he realizes that Wong is out of prison, he wants to take revenge on her and make her suffer even more for what she did. But at the same time mutilated corpses began to appear in Hong Kong, and every now and then someone finds severed human hands in the garbage. Cham will be assigned a young and naive policeman fresh from the academy, Will Yam (Mason Lee), who will be appalled by his partner’s violent and brutal methods. It will shock him even more that Cham pays more attention to the unfortunate woman who killed his family than solving brutal murders. When he finally manages to find her, the situation will get completely out of control because he will start living on her like a horse on a horse, and in these bouts of madness, he will lose his gun, which will be taken by none other than a maniacal killer.

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Although I’m not one of those who cringe at violence in movies, veteran director of mostly action movies Soi Cheang in “Limbo” seems to have crossed the line a bit. If his goal was to achieve a sickening, sickening and even nihilistic atmosphere, he definitely succeeded in that, because with all the violence, blood and brutality, Hong Kong looks terrifyingly dirty and stinks of all those junkyards where the action mostly takes place and where the police hunt a sociopathic killer , you can almost feel it through the screen. Just as the old inspector is, violent, chaotic and wild, so is the entire film, which seems almost dystopian, and the superb black and white camera of the experienced Cheng Siu-Keung and the hopeless environment are by far the strongest assets of this dark thriller.

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