UK based Trinity CineAsia organised a VIP screening for their latest Hong Kong title The Goldfinger on 3 January which we had the privilege to attend. The film releases today across cinemas in the UK and Ireland.
Contrary to most, I was not a fan of Infernal Affairs. In fact, I preferred Scorsese’s riff on it with ‘The Departed’. So the promotion of The Goldfinger as a reunion between Tony Leung and Andy Lau paralleling their prior outing wasn’t as appealing as wanting to see the roles that the two embrace at this point in their careers.
Tony Leung has made a career out of his eyes. His gaze conveys longing and solitude with such singularity. The Goldfinger allows to utilise this to sinister effect as he plays Henry Ching, a conman. He has recently expressed a desire to play villainous roles. The decision to play Wenwu in 2021’s Marvel blockbuster Shang Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings reflects this sentiment.
Needless to say, Ching is the antagonist. That being said, despite the endless deceit, there is sincerity in his actions. He is convinced that he is simply involved in a Darwinian contest for relevance, only valuing adaptability and shrewdness. Ching’s worldview operates along the axis of opportunism and power acquisition.
Ching’s empire is scrutinised by the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) spearheaded by Lau Kai Yuen (Andy Lau). The institution’s origin and subsequent relevance are weaved into the story as a burgeoning advocate for transparency.
Felix Chong is critical of the age-old issue of nepotism and the incompetence it breeds. Tsang, played by Simon Yam, encapsulates this as an heir to a corporate dynasty. Tsang persistently misreads character and is void of temperance. The performance has a flavour of Matthew McConaughey in The Wolf of Wall Street.
The events of The Goldfinger unfold in the context of market volatility worldwide and the sense of disorder is magnified by the uncertain status of Hong Kong at the time Pre-Handover.
Chong places a heavy emphasis on the relationship between scale and governance. By extension, there is a certain skepticism towards unaccountable international entities ranging from brokerage firms to sovereign funds.
These concerns have enduring relevance, though since its inception the ICAC has been crucial in cultivating Hong Kong’s commitment to integrity and ethical practice.