Unlucky Plaza

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Unlucky Plaza
Directed byKen Kwek
Produced by
  • Ken Kwek
  • Kat Goh
  • Leon Tong
Written byKen Kwek
Starring
Music by
  • Joe Ng
  • Ting Si Hao
CinematographyMichael Zaw
Edited byOlly Stothert
Production
company
Kaya Toast Pictures
Distributed byShaw Organisation
Release date
  • September 4, 2014 (2014-09-04) (TIFF)
Running time
122 minutes
CountrySingapore
LanguageEnglish
BudgetS$800,000[1]
Box officeUS$46,331 (Singapore)

Unlucky Plaza is a 2014 Singaporean black comedy thriller film written and directed by Ken Kwek. It stars Epy Quizon as a Filipino immigrant to Singapore who takes hostages after falling for a scam. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released in Singapore in April 16, 2015. The story is told in a series of flashbacks from the point of view of a talk show that has reunited the captor and his former hostages.

Plot[edit]

Filipino immigrant Onassis Hernandez mistreats his restaurant workers, causing a disgruntled cook to sabotage an inspection by the Singaporean health department. After Hernandez subsequently falls for a popular rental scam that targets immigrants, he takes several Singaporeans hostage and broadcasts his demands for social change on YouTube.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was based on reports of rental scams that were popular on immigrants.[1]

Release[edit]

Unlucky Plaza premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival[2] on September 4, 2014.[3] It's Singaporean premiere was at the Singapore International Film Festival on December 4, 2014.[1] Shaw Organisation released it in Singapore on April 16, 2015,[4] and it grossed US$46,331.[5] Cinemaflix Entertainment released it in the US in January 2016.[6] & finally released in the Philippines co-produced by VIVA Films in April 2016.

Reception[edit]

Collecting four American reviews, Metacritic, a review aggregator, rated it 38/100.[7] Stephanie Luo of AsiaOne rated it 3.5/5 stars and wrote that it "highlights real issues in Singapore society well", though it has several unrealistic scenes.[8] Iliyas Ong of Time Out Singapore rated it 2/5 stars and wrote the film's social satire, "As belaboured and on-the-nose as Kwek's point is, it's also terrifyingly real."[9] Clarence Tsui of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Sentimentality and small-screen aesthetics turn social critique into soap opera."[10] Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times wrote that the talk show framing device "destroys the suspense and seals a sense of the movie as both slick and amateurish".[11] Martin Tsai of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Writer-director Ken Kwek means for the proceedings to be farcical, but seldom are they actually funny."[12] Simon Abrams of The Village Voice wrote, "Kwek's refreshing focus on his terrorized protagonists' pre-abduction lives keeps Unlucky Plaza afloat once it invests in generic ticking-clock thrills."[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Lui, John (2014-11-12). "Singapore film festival opening film Unlucky Plaza is entertaining and has depth, says festival director". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  2. ^ Coonan, Clifford (2014-09-08). "Toronto: Banned Singaporean Director Debuts 'Unlucky Plaza'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  3. ^ "What's On - September 4". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  4. ^ Loh, Genevieve Sarah (2014-12-22). "Unlucky Plaza to be shown in cinemas in April 2015". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  5. ^ "Unlucky Plaza". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  6. ^ Loh, Genevieve Sarah (2015-12-31). "S'pore film Unlucky Plaza to show in US". Today Online. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  7. ^ "Unlucky Plaza". Metacritic. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  8. ^ Luo, Stephanie (2015-04-15). "Movie review: Unlucky Plaza". AsiaOne. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  9. ^ Ong, Iliyas (2015-04-01). "Unlucky Plaza". Time Out Singapore. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  10. ^ Tsui, Clarence (2014-12-04). "'Unlucky Plaza': Singapore Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  11. ^ Rapold, Nicolas (2016-01-07). "Review: In 'Unlucky Plaza,' a Comic Hostage Crisis via Tabloid Storytelling". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  12. ^ Tsai, Martin (2016-01-15). "Review 'Unlucky Plaza' undeftly delves beneath Singapore's orderly, multicultural facade". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  13. ^ Abrams, Simon (2016-01-05). "Singaporean Hostage Thriller 'Unlucky Plaza' Has Character to Spare". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2016-04-01.

External links[edit]