TWENTY SOMETHING chronicles the exploits of a group of well-heeled but restless young Hong Kong professionals who frequent a bar called Berlin. The film starts as a melodramatic, if accurately detailed, portrait of restless young adults approaching various crossroads in their lives. Before it ends, it becomes a harsh morality tale. Jennifer, Alice, Tom,...read more
TWENTY SOMETHING chronicles the exploits of a group of well-heeled but restless young Hong Kong professionals who frequent a bar called Berlin. The film starts as a melodramatic, if accurately detailed, portrait of restless young adults approaching various crossroads in their lives.
Before it ends, it becomes a harsh morality tale.
Jennifer, Alice, Tom, Mick, Pat, Sue, and Bo are friends who meet new lovers, drink until they're sick, and occasionally find the wherewithal to nurse one another through crises. Pat, the group's overweight matchmaker and gossipmonger who cannot get a date herself, organizes endless drinking
games, karaoke parties, and friendly group breakfasts to fortify these young people before they go to work. Alice falls for Mick, whose girlfriend has left him to immigrate to Canada. Although Mick vows to avoid commitment, soon the two are settled into a domesticity that descends into tedium.
Alice's best friend, Sue, whose capacity for self-destruction is the most extreme of any in the group, catches Mick's wandering eye, bringing things to a boiling point when Alice agrees to let Sue and Mick sleep together. In this painful turn of events, Alice waits outside while Sue climbs into
Mick's bed. They make passionate love but, before they reach orgasm, Alice comes back into the room and takes Sue's place. Sue returns to Berlin, distraught, and Bo offers a shoulder for her to cry on. She goes with him to a rooftop. Drunk, he propositions her, and ignoring her protests, rapes
her. As they struggle, he loses his grip on her and she falls off the roof's ledge.
Sue's death is the end of an era. Bo blames himself, but the group as a whole is forgiving, taking the tragedy as an expected wake-up call to get on with their lives. Alice and Mick get married, and the occasion becomes a bittersweet reunion.
Generations clash in the film's whirlwind opening scenes. Inside a Jeep parked on a hilltop against a sweeping Hong Kong vista, Jennifer is performing oral sex on Tom, as a group of elderly men and women practicing Tai Chi veers dangerously close, and Tom, an ambitious insurance agent who is
eventually transferred to Singapore, fends off his mother, who calls him on his car phone. Taking all interruptions in their stride, the pair finish and scurry off to work. This pattern of all-night parties and rude reawakenings in the workaday world jobs serves as TWENTY SOMETHING's motif.
At first TWENTY SOMETHING may seem meandering, even plotless, and only minimally concerned with character development. But soon it forges ahead, depicting with irony and almost anthropological curiosity the group's behavior. Then the climactic tragedy occurs, and the film hurries to a too-neat
conclusion that belies the chaos of its characters' lives. (Sexual situations, adult situations, nudity, substance abuse.)
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