Unlucky Plaza: A curious case of good people doing bad things

Director Ken Kwok’s latest offering hits close to home with flawed characters that viewers can easily connect to

Unlucky Plaza: A curious case of good people doing bad things

Photo: Lee Wei Lin
Video: Foong Mien Shi
Additional Photo: Singapore International Film Festival

Unlucky Plaza in a nutshell: All Onassis Hernandez (Epy Quizon) wanted was to be a Singapore Citizen, watch his son grow up just like any other Singaporean child and for his Filipino diner to thrive.

Driven to the edge of desperation after his restaurant is hit with a food poisoning scandal (the cook stirred his poop into the food), he ends up taking a self-proclaimed motivational-speaker-cum-property-guru named Sky (Adrian Pang), his disgruntled wife (Judee Tan), a Chinese gangster (Guo Liang) and a not-so-holy priest (Shane Mardjuki) as hostages.

He then holds them at gunpoint with a toy pistol but ends up having a real gun – drawn from an extremely fashion-forward man-purse, no less – pointed at him and has to scramble for Ah Tiong (Hokkien for chinaman – but we’re not going to tell you who/what it is) to regain control of the situation.

Sounds mind-boggling? Indeed, it was quite a bit to take in at first – but the way the film unfolded somehow managed to convince as much as it entertained with its dark-to-slapstick sense of humour.

“I haven’t seen a Singapore film quite like this before – it’s accessible but has something to say. It’s entertaining but it has depth as well and this film really packs a punch,” Zhang Wenjie, Festival Director of SGIFF, shared at the cozy breakfast briefing held at Objectifs yesterday (Nov 11).

Unlucky Plaza: A curious case of good people doing bad things

Director Ken Kwok, whose previous film Sex.Violence.FamilyValues was banned island-wide shortly after its local debut, admitted that he “knew what to avoid” when he was coming up with his first feature film.

The result is still brutally honest – something that leading man Adrian Pang concurs with. “At a very basic, personal level, Ken and I share the same absurd sense of humour and slightly cynical view on life and human beings. We also share a need to find the humanity under that cynicism and I think we both are obsessively curious about the darker side of the human experience,” he shared.

The two last worked together on Sex.Violence.FamilyValues but Adrian has been busy with a variety of other projects in between – in this year alone, he has starred as a priest in The Faith of Anna Waters and a serial killer in musical Frozen.

“(Sky)’s a character who’s slightly lost his way, his sense of decency and on a very basic level, how to love his wife. He’s thrown into a situation and is given a reminder in really harsh ways on what matters in life, and playing a character like that reminds you that the most basic and simple things in life are really the most important – your relationships – and it’s so easy to get lost chasing the material things in life,” he mused.

“But personally I don’t think I need reminding because I have an awesome wife, kids and family,” he chuckled.

Unlucky Plaza will open for the Singapore International Film Festival on December 4. Tickets are now available on SISTIC.

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