Like a Hong Kong version of Lodge Kerrigan’s indie, sorta-classic Clean, Shaven, Wong Chun’s debut, Mad World, plunks recently rehab-ed, bipolar disorder sufferer Tung (Shawn Yue) back into polite society and creates tension from his inevitable slide back into old meltdowns. Flashbacks inform us why this handsome former investment banker traded a comfortable married life for the rubber room (he took care of his incontinent, dementia-stricken mother while his siblings and father jumped ship). Eric Tsang, as Tung’s baffled, also-suffering father, is the MVP here, embodying a shrugging, half-considered fatherliness fully ill-equipped to properly deal with his son’s illness. A reasonably diverting melodrama, Mad World eventually takes a turn for the maudlin, as Tung’s tear-streaked abandoned wife (Charmaine Fong) too literally, in flashback, diagnoses his woes. The film is at its worst with dialogue like “It’s a mad world out there…”; it’s at its best portraying Tung’s pettily judgmental former acquaintances and colleagues, who callously Snapchat his best man speech breakdown.
Published as part of New York Asian Film Festival | Dispatch 2.