Review of Supercapitalist
on 2012-08-26 08:14
Movie Review: "Supercapitalist"
Length: 101 minutes
Release Date: August 10, 2012
Directed by: Simon Yin
Stars: 4 out of 5
"Supercapitalist" is the type of film that feels vaguely familiar, leading some viewers to compare the movie to others like "Wall Street." The film manages to do something different by moving the setting to Hong Kong. Director Simon Yin is a relative newcomer in the directing world because his previous credits mainly include television shows, but if this film is any indication of his talent, he has a bright future ahead of him.
The film opens with a short description of Hong Kong. The People's Republic of China made an agreement with Great Britain that it wouldn't change the capitalist system in the area for a minimum of 50 years. This left Britain feeling confident that its former territory would remain the same. Despite sticking to that promise, Hong Kong changed enough that it seemed like the perfect setting for a film of this type.
Writer Derek Ting spent more than six years working on the screenplay, and it's clear that he drew some inspiration from movies like "Wall Street." Director Yin draws his own inspiration from that movie, creating a film that almost feels like a remake of "Wall Street" set in a new country. Everything from a lead actor who seems vaguely familiar to the shots of the big city outside the window will remind viewers of the other film.
The film follows the life and career of Connor Lee, played by writer Derek Ting. Lee is a Chinese-American living in New York where he works as a hedge trader. After discovering that the Fed is about to make major changes to the discount rate, he takes steps to protect his firm from the ensuing damage. Mark Patterson (Linus Roache, "Batman Begins"), the head of the company, decides that Lee is his new golden boy. He orders his protégé to Hong Kong where he hopes that the young man can negotiate a hostile takeover of a popular company.
Lee arrives in Hong Kong and immediately forms a relationship with Victor (Kenneth Tsang, "Die Another Day") and Donald Chang (Richard Ng, "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame"). Lee learns that he could make even more money by going against the wishes of Patterson, which leads him down a slippery slope.
Things become even worse when he meets Quentin Wong (Darren E. Scott, "Case 39"). Wong serves as the devil on his shoulder, convincing him that he can have everything he wants as long as he has enough money. If Wong plays the devil, then Natalie is the angel on his other shoulder. Natalie (Kathy Uyen, "Rice on White") is the PR director for the firm, and the one person who shows Lee the lighter side of life. Even as Wong woos him with fast cars and even faster women, Natalie is there showing him that love is more important that money.
As Lee gets caught up in the world surrounding hostile takeovers and multimillion-dollar deals, he must make a decision between having it all or buying it all. Yin does a phenomenal job of showing the excitement that Wong can offer and the laidback life that Lee can have with Natalie. Though Ting is relatively new to the world of acting, he does an impressive job showing the indecision and uncertainty that Lee experiences.
While the struggle between good and evil is the main focus of the film, the director and writer rarely go beyond the stereotypical images of what makes someone bad. Patterson wants Lee to be just like him, and because he's one of the bad people in the movie, the director adds a scene that shows him having an affair. It's not enough that he's the head of an evil corporation, but the director had to take it one-step further. Wong, the other villain of the film, is one-step away from becoming a cartoon character. Whenever he appears in the film, beautiful women, fast cars, and other items that show him as a wealthy playboy surround him.
Though "Supercapitalist" has some minor flaws, it's nothing that detracts from the overall story. The acting in the film is fantastic, especially Scott and Roache. Both men seem to revel in acting their villainous parts, showing the audience that being bad can be fun. The film also does an admirable job of introducing a classic storyline in a new and exciting way. Though most viewers will know exactly where the film is going and how it will end, they will still enjoy the ride. The impressive acting from Ting and the strong directing from Yin make this one worth watching.