Make your own free website on

The Longest Nite (1997)

[What's New]
[Movie Reviews]


-Tony Leung Chiu Wai
-Lau Ching Wan


Tony Leung plays a corrupt cop in the city of Macau. Two gang leaders in the city vie for power, but a powerful business owner wants them both out of the picture. The two gangs decide to come to an agreement. Tony Leung must make sure nothing goes wrong as the moments count down to the gang leaders' meeting. But, someone has put a bounty on one of their heads.


Hong Kong cinema certainly has action and style down, and they put together some great stories with good themes and characters. But, one thing that seems to be lacking are the movies that really keep you guessing. The ones that mess with your head. Enter Milkyway productions with The Longest Nite. This movie will set your head spinning, and you may not even realize it at first. It has some pacing questions, but is a welcome deviation from the norm in HK cinema.

While this film isn't exactle Memento, the viewer will slowly find his head trying to wrap around the story and figure out exactly what is supposed to be going on. In fact, the film doesn't immediately show that it is going to get to the viewer's head. The beginning of the film is actually kind of a jumble. Understandably, much is left unexplained as Lau Ching Wan is supposed to be a mysterious character and viewers aren't supposed to understand everbody's motives and loyalties. Unfortunately, as it does this near the beginning, it seems like there is so much jumping between different characters and events, that the film actually gives the mind time to wander and doesn't motivate the viewer to get involved with the plot..

It is only as the layers of the plot are revealed well into the film that it starts to really get interesting. Suddenly, everything comes together and viewers see exactly where everything fits. At this point, one realizes how much the movie has been playing with the mind. I am honestly a sucker for mind games in movies, so at this point my attention became far more focused than in the first half. In fact, I probably went overboard on my praise for this movie on the first viewing because of this. Nonetheless, it gets pretty fulfilling once all the layers have been revealed and we see how everything works out. The film does putter off toward the end in a stylish, but unnecessary action scene that, while adding some excitement, pulls viewers away from the plot and mindgames that have made the film what it is.

Tony Leung and Lau Ching Wan are both excellent in their roles. Lau Ching Wan is particularly good at being mysterious, yet affirmative - only being aggressive when pushed. Some of the other smaller parts in the film aren't quite so well performed, as there are a good few overboard performances and a few that are just lifeless. Luckily, as the focus of the flim is heavily on our two main characters, this really doesn't become terribly noticeable.

Stylistically, the film is right on the money. It has a dark, gritty look that fits the mood, appropriately described by the title "The Longest Nite". Small things are used to great effect to enhance the mood of the film. In particular, one may notice many dark scenes with lots of little particles or something floating around in the air. I don't know how, but somehow it really just adds a lot to the atmosphere. There is a very well done final action sequence that, while unnecessary, is quite interesting and does manage to fit into the style of the film.

If you want something more than the straightforward plots we are used to in HK cinema or just want something different, "The Longest Nite" is a good choice. It has some problems with pacing and viewer interest at the beginning of the film that really hurt it (and this, in fact, is actually amplified on multiple viewings), but once the revelations come along, the film becomes very satisfying. Credit goes to all involved for doing something stylish and different, and hopefully we can see more movies that stretch out like this in the future.


-Patrick Yau


-Original Cantonese language