Beyond Our Ken
Year of release: 2004
Director: Edmond Pang
Producer: Catherine Hun
Writers: Edmond Pang, Wong Wing-Si
Cinematography: Charlie Lam
Editing: Wenders Li
Music: Wong Ai-Lun, Janet Yung
Stars: Daniel Wu, Gillian Chung, Tao Hong, Jim Chim, Anna Ng
Rated IIA for language
Movie Review Index
Since his debut in 2001 with You Shoot I Shoot, writer/director Edmond Pang has emerged as one of the more talented film-makers currently working in Hong Kong. His 2004 release Beyond Our Ken is no exception. What on the surface would normally be a dumb romantic comedy or weepy melodrama turns out to be a very interesting take on making and breaking relationships.
Loosely based around events in Pang's own life, Beyond Our Ken centers on the title character (played by Daniel Wu), who is dating Shirley (Tao Hong). One day while at work, Shirley is confronted by Ken's ex-girlfriend, Ching (Gillian Chung), who reveals the distressing fact that Ken posted nude pictures of her on the internet. The two women uncover that Ken is not the knight in shining armor he purports to be, and hatch a plan to get revenge.
In the hands of a different director, this very well could have been a totally different movie viewing experience, and not a positive one. Far too often in these types of pictures, the film-makers resort to cliches and tropes that have long been overused and tired. While Beyond Our Ken doesn't exactly break the mold, it sets itself refreshingly apart from the pack, making this a romantically-oriented drama even guys weaned on ultraviolence should be able to enjoy.
Things aren't all perfect here, particularly when it comes to the ending, which introduces some unnecessary twists, making the resolution feel a bit too pat and convenient. But, overall, Beyond Our Ken is a finely made drama that makes a great example of how Hong Kong film-makers can, and often do, make outstanding cinema outside of the realms of kung fu and gangster movies.