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- 87 min.
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Johnnie To's Sparrow romanticizes Hong Kong the way Woody Allen does New York. This quirky comedy is about a quartet of pickpockets (the leader charmingly played by Simon Yam) manipulated by a beautiful and mysterious chameleon of a woman (Kelly Lin) into helping her regain her freedom (and passport) from the gangster who loves her too much. It's a mystery that unfolds slowly but surely, letting you piece the puzzle together through some great (and often demurely sexy) set pieces. Western viewers may catch up to the intrigue a bit late - there are concepts here that are very much native to Hong Kong - but I think they'll be rewarded in the end. It's also great fun to see pickpocketing mastery filmed like a grand musical, a perfectly choreographed martial arts action scene and, all at the same time, a western showdown. Another beautiful film from To. You wouldn't believe they shot on and off for 4 years, without a script.
Hong Kong slang for pickpockets is "sparrow"
Thoroughly enjoyable watch. Great soundtrack adds to the lovely sway of the flow.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #188 in LoveHKFilm.com's The Best Hong Kong Films Ever
This movie ranks #1163 in Doubling the Canon