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Fear of Intimacy Review

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by AVForums Aug 1, 2005

    Fai (Tony Leung) is a paparazzi Photographer looking for scandals to expose in Hong Kong society. Tortured by the fact that his girlfriend, Po disappeared years ago on their beach home he quit being a celebrated photo journalist and now prowls the streets looking for a good picture for his employers' celebrity magazine.

    His magazine teams him with ambitious new girl, Suet (Michelle Saram) to partner him on his quest for photos in the Hong Kong elite. Suet is a fan of Fai's work and a bond quickly develops. One morning however, a body of one of Hong Kong's elite, Mrs Leung is found. A murder hunt is in progress for the local police, Fai and Suet instigate their own investigation and along with an estate agent, Anson, the past comes back to haunt Fai.

    Having never heard of this film, I decided to some investigation of my own. Fear of Intimacy has been showing in festivals around the world for about a year now. Made independently of the Hong Kong film industry it showcases a terrific tortured lead performance from veteran, Tony Leung. Leung portrays the world weary Fai as a man desperately clinging onto the past. Haunted by the fact that his girlfriend has gone and he never had the chance to ask her to marry him, his emotional range is frankly faultless. One minute he is enjoying a fun moment with his new assistant and then he is a madman, wanting to the find the truth at all costs.

    Reading the back of the DVD cover, you would expect this film to be a thriller. It is not. It is really a character study of a man with battling with his demons. The editing is excellent with the story switching back to past events to explain what is happening in the present. Sometimes this can ruin a film, but in this case it works extremely well.

    However, at times the film can get bogged down by excessive 'talky' moments which could have been left on the cutting room floor. To the average viewer, the film could be way too confusing with the flashbacks and the fact that the film just ties up the loose ends too quickly. It is however, a well made piece of cinema but it just left me cold. I couldn't really care about any of the characters apart from Fai and Suet. In fact, it was somewhat of a strain to watch the film in one sitting.