"Three" is a collection of three short movies with supernatural themes from three countries (Thailand, Korea and Hong Kong). They include,
The Wheel: directed by Thai director, Nimibutr Nonzee.
Memory: directed by Korean director Kim Jee-Woon.
Going home: directed by Peter Chan.
I picked "Going Home" out of the three movies to write a review as I was so impressed with the plot and the cast. You can forgo the other two movies in the trilogy but "Going home" is worth a watch. I think you should not read this review if you are planning to watch the movie even though I won't divulge the ending. It is best to watch it with a fresh mind.
"Going Home" is not simply a movie about ghosts and supernatural themes. It is a poignant tale about love and the length people would go to for the ones they love. CID Chan Wai (played by Eric Tsang) and his son moved into a deserted building where their only neighbour was Mr. Yu Fai (played by Leon Lai). Since the moment they entered the building, Chan Wai's son was followed by a little girl in red dress while Yu Fai appeared as a very quiet man. There were occasions when Chan Wai or his son saw Yu Fai taking his wife out in a wheel chair or carrying large black garbage bags. CID Chan Wai was busy with his work and did not really take care of his son. One day, the little girl approached the boy and asked him to play with her. Waking up at 11 p.m. at night, Chan Wai found that his son was not home. He came knocking on Yu Fai's door to ask for his son as he thought the little girl was Yu Fai's daughter. Yu Fai told him that he and his wife had no daughter and shut the door. Intrigued by Yu Fai's abrupt behaviour and the strong smell of Chinese medicine inside Yu Fai's flat, Chan Wai broke into Yu Fai's place while Yu Fai went out only to discover Yu Fai's wife, Hai'er (played by Eugenia Yuan), lying in a bathtub. To Chan Wai, she was dead. To Yu Fai, his wife was simply in a long sleep for three years so he could cure her of liver cancer then resurrect her.
The story evolves from this point to become a rather sad, at times haunting but not scary, love story. However, it was not melodramatic. The movie wants to deliver more than just thrilling moments of a movie of this genre. It is about broken lives, lives destroyed by death and separation from loved ones. What could be more tender and loving than a man whispering sweet words to his dead wife and asking her what color she would want for her dress? Is this sheer madness? Or is it a beautiful tale of love? For two thirds of the movie, the viewer would have the same view as Chan Wai, that Yu Fai is plain crazy to believe that he could revive his wife. However, the well-written script would engage the viewers in a journey of discovery, of the unbelievable, and allow them to form speculation and to ponder over new twists. The cinematography is haunting and executed well with gray, brown, and black as the dominant shades. Together with the angle of camera, and the attention to tiny details like water dripping from Yu Fai's garbage bag all contribute to the suspense of the movie. The ending was heartrending but satisfying. It might seem ridiculous in the beginning to think that Yu Fai could resurrect his wife but the poignant ending leaves us to ponder that 'anything seems possible'.
Peter Chan, Leon Lai and Eric Tsang reunited to produce another memorable piece of work since their last successful collaboration in "Comrades, Almost a Love Story". Leon Lai delivered a superb performance as Yu Fai, a loving and devoted husband who leads a painful, reclusive existence in order to resurrect his dead wife. Yu Fai appears as a wooden and bland person but the love he has for his wife is overwhelming. His face lights up with happiness and love when he talks to her. He bathes her, talks to her for three years so her soul could stay in her body. Leon's performance alone carries the movie. After so many years of being criticized as a wooden actor and not being recognized for his acting talent, Leon Lai finally won his long-waited Best Leading Actor at the 39th Golden Horse Awards for his role as Yu Fai. He might not be an actor with diversity but he is good in certain roles and we could tell that he really gets into the roles.
Eugenia Yuan is a newcomer but she gives a very daring performance as Yu Fai's dead wife. Even though she is unmoving most of the movie, she has an appearance on screen that will not allow the audience to ignore her. This might sound weird but Eugenia Yuan was very good as a corpse and looked very much the part as well. For people who do not know, she is the daughter of 1960s star Cheng Pei Pei.
Eric Tsang proves himself as a veteran actor. He eased into the role of CID Chan Wai as a hardworking father who cared very much for his son even though he did not show it all the time. The other two supporting casts worth mentioning are Chan Wai's son and the little girl in red dress. Chan Wai's son, who is often scolded by his dad, is told that he is a man so he should not be afraid of anything. The little actor was really cute and he expressed rather well the feelings of the boy. As for the girl in red dress, her presence adds depth to the plot.
Overall, this love story is delivered beautifully and hauntingly in the short span of 45 minutes. "Going Home" gives me back the faith that there are still some decent acting, directing and writing talents in a commercially-driven Hong Kong movie market.