Fantasia Festival Review: A Witness Out of the Blue

Year: 2019
Runtime: 104 Minutes
Writer/director: Andrew Fung
Stars: Louis Koo, Louis Cheung, Jessica Hsuan, Cherry Ngan

by Alexandra Petrache

Some animals are very smart. Chimpanzees, dolphins, elephants, parrots. Reports say dogs are similar in intelligence to 2-year-old children. These animals are able to understand signals and words. What do you do, though, when you are at a murder scene and the only witness is a parrot? A smart parrot, but an animal nevertheless, one that is yet to master any language- much less Cantonese.

In “A Witness Out of the Blue”, written and directed by Andrew Fung, Lin Fa-liang (Louis Cheung) is a Hong Kong policeman with a big heart and what looks like ten cats. When he is unable to make a loan deadline (loan he used to fund his cat shelter), Fa-liang finds himself doing odd jobs for his lender, who calls him at the most inconvenient moments, including at a crime scene. This makes for light-hearted humorous situations and a nice episodic story.

“A Witness Out of the Blue” is akin to a gentle rollercoaster. With a bit more “oomph” it would have made a memorable film. At it stands, it is a very pleasant and charming watch.”

Homer Tsui (Deep Ng), the partner of Sean Wong (Louis Koo), an infamous thief, is found dead months after a major robbery at a jewelry shop. Yip Sau-ching (Philip Keung), the chief inspector, incriminates Wong and is dead set to get back at him for having killed one of his informants. Meanwhile, no one believes Fa-liang’s idea that the parrot could identify the killer. His friend and co-worker, Shao-mei (Cherry Ngan), humours him and suggests he adopts the parrot to try and find a way to make him speak.

Meanwhile, Wong is fighting with an anxiety that keeps him up at night, and slowly becomes closer to his benevolent host, “Joy” Ding Xi-yue (Jessica Hester Hsuan). He is out to try and prove that he didn’t kill his crime buddy, and to also save the remaining team.

Koo’s acting is to be praised- he manages to move the audience and take it through feelings of horror, despair, empathy, and hope. If you are into soft crime thriller, this entertaining and fun film is the right choice for you. Alternating between light and deep, tugging at the heartstrings sometimes, “A Witness Out of the Blue” is akin to a gentle rollercoaster. With a bit more “oomph” it would have made a memorable film. At it stands, it is a very pleasant and charming watch.

“A Witness Out of the Blue” will be showing at Fantasia Film Festival from 20th August to 2nd September.

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