Combustible Celluloid
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With: Roy Cheung, Li Bingbing, Dave Taylor, Vic Zhou
Written by: Ivy Ho
Directed by: Johnnie To
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin, English with English subtitles
Running Time: 89
Date: 01/10/2008

Linger (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

A Report from SFIFF

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Generally Hong Kong filmmakers and audiences have an extremely high tolerance level for sentimentality; it takes an enormous amount before their sap detectors begin going off. The same goes for action director and one-man HK film industry Johnny To (Exiled), but his vast experience and finely honed skills help the ghost story/romance Linger occasionally step over the puddles of goop. Li Bingbing (also in The Forbidden Kingdom) stars as a student who loses her new boyfriend (Vic Zhou) in a car accident. Three years later, working as a law clerk, she goes off her meds and begins seeing his ghost (as well as other spectral phenomena). The film stretches with a subplot about a reckless juvenile delinquent who becomes interested in her past. But To uses strikingly clear and vivid compositions full of nature, architecture and light to help his film breathe, and it moves by in a harmless 89 minutes.

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