By Lim Yian Lu
Length: 89 minutes
Director: Calvin Poon
Cast: Sammi Cheng, Charlene Choi, Tong Dawei
3 out of 5 stars
Fatal Visit is a Hong Kong thriller revolving around Yanny (Charlene Choi), Ling (Sammi Cheng) and husband Tang (Tong Dawei), each with their own unspeakable secrets. After a love affair goes south, Yanny leaves Hong Kong for San Jose and meets Ling, her childhood friend. On the surface, Ling and Tang seem to lead an ideal and carefree life, living in a quaint house by a lake. But in a short span of five days, Yanny gradually comes to realise the truth hidden behind this facade, just as Ling digs into Yanny’s past.
In the beginning of the film, it gets a little confusing because the narrative is non-linear and engages in frequent flashbacks to different time periods and settings. There are a total of four: Ling’s past before she meets Tang; Ling and Tang when they first meet; Ling and Tang when they are together; and Yanny’s experiences back in Hong Kong.
As a result, during the first half of the show, it is like piecing a jigsaw puzzle together — information overload at first, but it gets better as the pieces start joining up and making sense. To get a better understanding, you can take reference from Ling’s makeup and Tang’s hair. In flashbacks, Ling has thicker makeup with bright red lips, while Tang has longer and unkempt hair.
Even though the plot can do better in its clarity, Fatal Visit is saved by its well-known and capable cast. Singer-actress Sammi Cheng was nominated in the 39th Hong Kong Film Awards as best actress for her exceptional performance in this movie. Charlene Choi, who is also a member of Cantopop group Twins, was nominated in the 39th Hong Kong Film Awards as best supporting actress for her performance in Fatal Visit as well. Fans of the two actresses will not be disappointed!
Although the ending still packs an element of surprise, it is not difficult to guess what happened in Ling’s and Tang’s past. In fact, the Chinese title which literally means “San Jose murder” already gave a very strong hint. Yanny’s past, though, which has the guest appearance of Patrick Tam (P Storm, Ip Man 3), could have had more screen time for their relationship and the troubles it caused.
Fatal Visit may have a confusing plot for a start, but if you follow through, it is not difficult to understand. With Sammi Cheng taking on the lead role and Charlene Choi as the supporting character, it is great to witness their chemistry in this film.
Release date: 25 September 2020 (Singsapore)