Claustrophobia is not like the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong movies that I have seen. Where in your typical Hong Kong flick characters state implicitly and clearly what they are feeling so that the entire world and his dog can get behind it, in Claustrophobia our cast of bedraggled yet always immaculately dressed office staff keep their emotions a tightly guarded secret. As an audience the trick throughout this movie is to read between the lines, to catch a glimpse of human frailty lest you spend the entire movie wondering what the point of it all is.
The movie begins with Tom (Ekin Cheng) dropping his closest co-workers home at the end of a shift. They are essentially a motley crew of typicals; the old grumpy one, the office bimbo and the nervy geek. And then there is Pearl (Karina Lam) who is last to arrive home. Whilst sat in the car, Tom takes this opportunity to tell Pearl that she is a great employee and deserves a better job working for someone else. What he is really saying here is that she should take a hike because the mutual office flirting could screw his marriage up; Pearl doesn’t take too kindly to this. Read More