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-Caitlyn's viewpoint

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Heaven's Retribution
(Thiên La Ðịa Võng)

Another fan's opinion

Posted By: caitlyn at
Date: Tuesday, 17 June 2003, at 4:06 p.m.

Heehee, isn't it obvious that I love this film to bits. Ngoc's & Hui Yee's well written reviews and andy and my previous posts have pretty much covered most of what I want to say. But then again, this film is one of those that I can never get tired of talking about. There indeed are some powerful yet subtle themes in HR. It's interesting to note that HR, LBIA, Racing Peak, Greed of Man, War of the Dragon, Vong Lua Hang Chay, Hang Thu Duong Doi- were all written by the same author. Re: Racing Peak, Ngoc is very correct to say that one will either love this or hate it. In my case it's the latter- it was a very well written and original film and the cast was excellent- but there was just something missing. Anyway I'm sidetracking- back to HR.

The only thing I would disagree with Hui Yee is re: My Le/Mei Lai. Her initial character was an absolute delight to watch (Thanks Ngoc for putting some of the most memorable scenes into words ) I loved the first meeting between her and Tong Ban/Sung Bong. Talk about fight before getting to know each other! She makes the most shrewd of today's female characters seem like kittens LOL! And I can't believe he faught with her as though she was truly a man. I can understand where Hui Yee is coming from, but for me, after ML's 360 degree character change, I respected and enjoyed her character even more. I don't think she was weak at all- just a very realistic character dealing with death. I very much admired her faith in Tong Ban in the face of MyLinh trying to steal him back, and his defence for her each time MyLinh tried to instill negative thoughts into him about My Le. Their love was so true, so incredibly strong, almost unbelievable. Makes all other love stories penned by TVB nowadays seem so weak. Do you remember that scene where Tong Ban said that the glass was square and she didn't dare say it was round. And also the party scene. Where all the other women criticized her for being too weak and submissive to Tong Ban. And she happily replied that it was her pleasure to serve him. "Afterall men work hard to bring money home to make women's lives comfortable, it was the least that she could do for him". Although she was weak when dealing with her illness and required TongBan's encouragement, she actually gave him his strength also. When she was in hospital, she encouraged him to return to work and to go out and achieve more than he ever did in the past- otherwise she wouldn't allow him to visit her. And ThyThy, if Simon and MeTuyet's story leave you in awe (they certainly left me speechless), just wait till you get to Tong Ban and My Le. But this film was so much more than just Tong Ban and My Le's love. I very much agree with Hui Yee's comment re: Simon's character and his fruitless efforts and bringing misfortune to himself and his family. I've mentioned this before, that one of the most powerful scenes is when Loi Cong explains to Tong Ban that no one can escape "thien la dia vong" ie "heaven and earth's net"- not even the greatest heroes such as Loi Cong and Tong Nhat Phu (Simon). In a way, although I believe that Tong Ban survived, its hard to ignore this film's depressing yet painful message.

All the actors breathed so much life into their characters.

This film definitely captured each actor at their very best particulary Felix and Jamie. Felix was so scintillating and charismatic- the different shades of emotions and personalities that he portrayed were so starkly realistic. And Jaime. I always noticed her in previous roles because of her beauty. But this film cemented in my mind that she is a great actor. I never could forget the beach house scene. Tong Ban was helplessly begging her over the phone. She didn't say a single word, just nodded her head in silent when he asked her "are you my My Le?". I felt mesmerised by her sad yet beautiful eyes- she made me cry. I also feel that it's unfair not to mention Lawrence's flawless performance. Hai was a victim of one of the best written story of friendship that I've come across (my humble opinion). Their friendship was so heartwarming and realistically imperfect. He tried so hard to be a righteous man, gain acceptance from his mother, win Sang's love, and Ban's forgiveness. Hai simply represented all of human's normal weaknesses. Very meaningful of the author to finally pair these two together, for them to found solace in one another.

And then there were the remaining characters that contributed their part to making this film one of the best. Eg:

-MyLinh who never believed in true love
-Quoc (Ban's brother)- a depiction of what communist brainwashing can do to one's mentality. And who finally sheds a tear in the end.
-MyLe's hillarious father and grandfather duo. I loved it when he told Ban over the phone- don't come yet because he hadn't put away all his antiques..hehe. And also when Ban was explaining why he loved ML- because she was beautiful, kind, graceful and her father snapped back "you're lying!"
-Of course Vuong Quan as Loi Cong. Truly an amazing actor.
-Sam, My Linh's boyfriend. I felt so sorry for this character. He had all the qualities that a woman could ask for and My Linh completely destroyed his soul. If only she could see that true love was right in front of her, that happiness lay waiting for her.
-Simon and MeTuyet- ATV surely outdone themselves choosing these two outstanding actors to make the the beginning of HR truly unforgetable.

Just my humble opinion on HR. Indeed I can keep going on and on.

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