A Fishy Story (1989)

Directed by
Goofy name, but not a goofy movie
Reviewed by Simon on 2002-02-05

From his outward appearance one might take Anthony Chan for a buffoon, and certainly not expect him to be an assured and skillful director. After watching When Fortune Smiles and A FISHY STORY in one weekend I am quite convinced that this is actually the case, however. Whilst WFS showed his skill for comedy, AFS shows at least equal aptitude for drama. The movie is set in Hong Kong in the 60's, where a naive young starlet (Maggie Cheung) arrives in the city convinced that fortune and fame is about to fall in her lap. She moves into the appartment below down and out cabbie Kenny Bee, and by the fact of sharing a door they are forced to interact. The backdrop to all of this is a series of strikes, riots and general social unrest that could best be summarised as "troubled times". The two influence each other to grow, and support each other when times get tough. It's quite a bleak movie overall, not a fluffy romance by any stretch of the imagination.

What makes the movie work so well is very strong characters for both Maggie and Kenny, and superb performances from each. Kenny Bee is especially good from the beginning, and Maggie grows into her role as the character moves from beautiful airhead to somebody a little more worldly-wise and world-weary. The script is also fresh and intelligent, and the direction and pacing top notch. Another one of those quality movies saddled with a goofy name... recommended viewing!