Mee Pok Man | Chicago Reader

Mee Pok Man

This auspicious 1995 debut feature, shot on a shoestring by the young Singaporean director Eric Khoo, presents the dark underside of a city celebrated for its cleanliness and efficiency. The focus is on dank alleys, seedy clubs, and high-rise tenements, whose denizens eke out a living on the fringe, overlooked by Singapore's economic “miracle.” The protagonist may be atypical too: sullen and slow-witted, this lonely cook in an all-night noodle stall worships his late father and is infatuated with a hooker named Bunny. When she's injured in an accident he takes her home and hides her from her brutal pimp. Khoo uses music-video montage and stark (though sometimes obvious and cliched) visual metaphors over a sound track crammed with ersatz alternative rock to help convey the jarring, combustible ambience of their world.

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