Nearly two decades after scripting the Infernal Affairs trilogy which has been liberally remade and borrowed from, Felix Chong’s new crime thriller does some pilfering and copying of its own. Spotting Project Gutenberg’s high-profile, largely Hollywood influences isn’t difficult, but derivation is rarely as entertaining as this slick Hong Kong effort about a high-stakes counterfeiting operation — and rarely comes with such compelling and engaging performances from the starry likes of Chow Yun-Fat and Aaron Kwok.
Like Infernal Affairs, it’s easy to see Project Gutenberg swiftly receiving an English-language remake, although the familiarity of one specific part of its narrative — it’d be a major spoiler to say which, however — might hamper its fortunes. In the interim, the film has proven a huge Chinese success, and currently sits 12th at the country’s box office for the entirety of 2018. Already open in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and the US as well, the movie’s latest stop is the Tokyo International Film Festival. Beyond its theatrical run, streaming interest should also be healthy.
Marking Chong’s first stint in the director’s chair in four years, Project Gutenberg sees failed artist turned gifted forger Lee Man (Kwok) spin an intriguing story during a police interrogation. Extradited from a Thai prison by Hong Kong detective Ho Wai-tam (Catherine Chau) and her team, he’s the only surviving member of a crack counterfeiting squad other than the elusive mastermind, who’s known only as Painter (Chow). The cops expect Lee to spill everything that he knows about his boss, and they’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that’s the case. Eventually he does — and what a tale he has to tell — but only after the enigmatic Yuen Man (Zhang Jingchu) helps loosen his lips.
By Sarah Ward28 October 2018
17.4GB | 2h 10m | 1920×804 | mkv