Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Lim Kay Tong
Qiu Lian Liu
What's it about
Perth deals with Harry Lee, a simple man who struggles to survive in an ever-complicated world. He hopes to eventually retire in Perth, but this falls through. He's forced to jump from job to job, eventually taking a chance by driving a prostitute named Mai from place to place, becoming a sort of father figure and lover to her.
Is it good movie?
If you happen upon Perth, please ignore the teaser quotes on the film's packaging, because if you don't, you'll be disappointed with the final product. The cover art for Perth's DVD describes it as "Singapore's answer to Taxi Driver."
Perth isn't really a lot like the aforementioned DeNiro classic, besides the brief period when Henry drives a Taxi and fancies a young prostitute. Nor is it a nasty, lowdown film in the gore-and-guts-throughout sort of way. In fact, it's a very slow-paced sort of potboiler that just crawls along until the finale, which is indeed an absolute massacre.
With that being said, I really enjoyed Perth as a quirky sort of departure from what you might expect. Guys will be the ones who benefit the most from this flick; I found it much easier to relate to because the majority of the film is spent with men simply sitting around, shooting the sh*t with one another.
There really isn't a lot of action in this film, as I said before, most of the film is a portrait of Henry, a ne'er do well sort of dreamer who just can't get things together. It doesn't stop there though, as the viewer can detect Henry's mean streak bubbling inside throughout the film. I suppose this is why the film pays off, because when Henry does get to unleash that mean streak, it's so satisfying.
Perth's acting is pretty decent. It's really a character-driven piece, and I thought the cast was quite solid. Another thing I really liked was the cinematography- the way the film is shot; you assume an almost voyeuristic position, feeling like you're seeing things that you simply shouldn't be seeing. This really adds to the film's atmosphere and overall slow build of tension.
So, while I wouldn't necessarily watch Perth over and over again, I definitely thought it was an intelligent, character-driven piece which really packs a vicious punch by the time the credits roll. Check it out.
Video / Audio
Perth is presented in a 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen form, which is purposefully murky and grainy (but it's supposed to look like that).
The 5.1 surround sounded ok, not the greatest though. Also remember, the movie is mostly subtitled.
For extras, we get a commentary track with director Djinn, who knows the film absolutely inside and out. If you dig this movie, you absolutely must listen to this commentary.
Lim Kay Tong, the man who plays Harry, also gets his own commentary, but it isn't nearly as informative as Djinn's, with him basically narrating most of the movie.
There are also 5 deleted scenes with Tong on commentary, which didn't add a whole lot, and why was the commentary mandatory?
Also you'll find a set design featurette narrated by Djinn, which basically entails just that, the set design
Want trailers? They're here too, for Perth, Lady Vengeance, Oldboy, One Take Only, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Spider Forest.
When all is said and done, Perth is definitely worth watching. The disc itself isn't overly special, but the film's crafted well enough to captivate your attention until the nastiness begins during the denouement. Those of you interested in foreign films should give it a look, just don’t expect the next Taxi Driver.