The Goldfinger  (12A) |Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Felix Chong, Hong Kong/China, 2023, 126 mins, in Mandarin and Cantonese with subtitles

Cast:  Tony Leung, Andy Lau

Review by Carol Allen

The big attraction of director Felix Chong’s film is the onscreen reunion of Hong Kong stars Tony Leung and Andy Lau, co-stars of the international success Infernal Affairs, twenty one years ago when Chong, that film’s co-writer was just a lad – well, actuality in his thirties but just embarking on his film career.  

Infernal Affairs was famously remade in America by Martin Scorsese as The Departed.   The Goldfinger however, is unlikely to enjoy the same distinction, as it is set in a  world  Scorsese has already extensively covered  in The Wolf of Wall Street.

The setting is the financial world of Hong Kong in the seventies and eighties,  Leung plays Ching Yat Yin, who smuggles himself into capitalist Hong Kong from communist China.  

He has nothing but his wits to work with and soon forms an alliance with Tsang Kim Kiu (Simon Yam), a member of a well established Hong Kong family, who helps him get his first million or so in the property business.  And after that there is no stopping him.  

The first half of the film is largely devoted to Ching’s rise to mega wealth and the scam that is funding his success and lavish life style.   However when the Hong Kong stock exchange is rocked by disaster and Chang’s business  is the main suspect, Lau Kai Yuen (Andy Lau) is appointed to investigate.

For much of the film Lau doesn’t have that much to do apart from peering at documents and such while Leung is having all the fun.   Lau comes into his own later though,  when the investigation takes off.  It actually takes years, much to the frustration of Lau’s wife (Charlen Choi).  There’s also a good contribution from Yam, particularly in a scene set in the Hong Kong stock exchange, where he is manipulating the prices – it could have been boring, it’s thrilling.  

Oh and yes, you do finally get the confrontation between the two stars that you’ve been waiting for.