19 November 2001 | leekandham
Can't escape the clichés
Those Were The Days tells the story of Cock (played by A. Jordan Chan) who grew up in a housing estate, before promptly becoming a leader of a gang. Gee (Gigi Leung) moves into the estate after her mother takes her children away from their Triad boss father in Macau. As they grow up as childhood friends, Cock eventually joins the Triads to Gee's dismay, and the film goes on to tell the love story of the two through the eyes of Gee's brother.
The acting and direction in this film is on the whole, very good, and there are a few poignant moments scattered throughout. The attempt to put through a more artistic style in the story does add to the film, but on the whole, there are many shortcomings. I have to say that Jordan Chan does very well in this film. The camera does focus mainly on him, and does bring out some of his best. Unfortunately, despite all his acting ability he simply does not fit into the role of a teenage rebel very well! Not that he can't act the role, just that short of having a completely new face surgically added to him, he would always look unconvincing. On the other hand, he fits in perfectly in the scenes of adulthood where comes into his own.
There is no surprise, though, that the very much typecasted Gigi Leung does the teenage thing well. After all, she must have had enough practice at it. But there are plenty of moments where she gets to demonstrate her wider acting spectrum, but sadly these were all too brief.
Although the direction is good, at the end of the film, I just got the feeling there was a lot more that could have been done to it. Overall, the scenes can get a bit drab. And artistically, the direction could have gone a lot further. One example was the score, which, unfortunately, never always matched the mood of the scenes very well.
All in all, it is a good storyline (albeit clichéd at times), with moments of glimmer in the film of quality. It's not a bad film, but not really one you'd reserve for that Friday night in. Probably more one for a Sunday evening on your DVD player...