Screened as part of NZIFF 2005
Direct from Competition in Cannes, Election is Johnnie To’s operatic take on China’s notorious triads. A long history and the complicated ceremonies and rules of the triads have given their underworld power a mythical edge. Depicting their ceremonies, hand signals or language on-screen is frowned upon by officialdom, but such depictions are very much to the point in To’s fascinating – and brutal – exercise in demystification. The plot involves the election of a new chairman in Hong Kong’s largest and oldest triad. The battle between the candidates – cool, apparently reasonable Lok and the possibly psychotic Big D (Tony Leung Ka-fai) – does not end with the ballot.
“Back in prime crime form… To and many of his regular Milkyway Image production team focus on the sheer mechanics of power handover with the same kind of glee (though less stylized) as in their elaborate criss-crossers The Mission and PTU… A follow-up movie is said to be in the works, and there's enough juice left at the end for a two-generational trilogy." — Derek Elley, Variety