Frozen (為你鍾情)

frozen

In either a flash of artistic inspiration or desperation, the creative forces behind Frozen seized on that gripping and little used plot device – cryogenics. It may have been that the traditional avenues of teenage love and middle age redemption were too traditional, leading to such bizarre experimentation. At least this might be the best way to swallow a film in which characters must reconcile the past by literally coming face to face with it.

One part of the movie is an average teen idol flick about a conventional high school romance between Leslie Cheung superfan Monica (Man) and Leslie Cheung wannabe Kit (Lee) and distinguished mostly by its belabored nod to the Eighties. Told in flashbacks, that bit of the past ends when Monica, who is about to give birth, is seriously injured in a car accident and put in indefinite deep freeze.

A couple decades later, Kit has radically transformed from an earnest musician who looks like Aarif Lee to a nameless vagrant who (gasp) looks like Leon Lai. Unable to forgive his part in the accident, he gets a chance to atone, and take a bath, when Monica unexpectedly materializes from suspended animation.

This is where the movie enters “B grade Hollywood sci-fi movie” territory, as one of the characters remarks. Though cleverly trying to preempt any criticism and laughs with that comment, the movie is not so self-aware that it also knows what story it wants to tell. Besides Monica and Kit’s abbreviated romance, it tries to juggle their twentysomething daughter Wingz’s (Vidal) own uncertainty about her past. Wingz manages a few searching moments with both parents, but as the movie progresses, it increasingly becomes a vehicle for the latter, and for Leon Lai.

Frozen eventually gets ensnared in meta-layers of memory and reaches an absurd climax when Lai, masquerading as Kit who is channeling Leslie, belts out the beloved singer’s hits. Cheung’s premature death in 2003 invites many forms of tribute, but this seems to be a hasty attempt at nostalgia.

And to be sure, Lai’s performance isn’t the only instance of sacrilege. The synergy machine is put into overdrive, and the remaining lead roles are drawn from his padawans at Amusic, a company he founded. While Man and Lee are proficient enough, Vidal’s tortured acting requires the most severe penance, preferably in the form of hit songs, which she can actually deliver.

Released: 2010
Prod: Joseph Chan Sin-Ji 陳善之
Dir: Derek Kwok Chi-Kin 郭子健
Writer: Derek Kwok Chi-Kin 郭子健; Yim Ka-Yee 嚴嘉儀
Cast: Janice Man Wing-San 文詠珊; Leon Lai Ming 黎明; Janice Vidal 衛蘭; Aarif Lee Chi-Ting 李治廷; Wilfred Lau Ho-Lung 劉浩龍; Siu Yam-Yam 邵音音; Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting 張堅庭; Ti Lung 狄龍; Julia Cheng Yim-Lai 鄭艷麗; Matt Chow Hoi-Kwong 鄒凱光; Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu 谷德昭; Tan Lap-Man 單立文; Yeung Chiu-Hoi 楊潮凱
Time: 97 min
Lang: Cantonese
Country: Hong Kong
Reviewed: 2013

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