Through patient development of each character, Khoo plays the story out at a decent pace and gives particular consideration to the audience’s experience. We see Bunny before we learn about the mee pok man’s longing for her – the film challenges the viewer to see the warmth and vulnerability in Bunny in the same way that he does. Bunny herself has the potential to be a fascinating character, caught between the prospect of cosmpolitan living with her English photographer boyfriend and her drab career in the underworld, but there is little convincing emotion brought to the role. Though marvellously lensed, Mee Pok Man is a middling experience that will leave one wanting.
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Mee pok is a variety of noodle served in coffee shops and street stalls alike, often accompanied by fish balls. The unnamed hero of Eric Khoo’s debut feature, the titular ‘mee pok man’, deals exclusively in the foodstuff, and the all-night licence on his restaurant means that he meets some interesting characters. With a constant stream of customers from all walks of life, the mee pok man finds it difficult to keep his mind on one thing, except for long-suffering prostitute Bunny who frequents the restaurant with her gal pals. The mee pok man is intimidated by the men in Bunny’s life, but when her pimp beats her up and abandons her, he seizes the opportunity to become her knight in shining armour. The two grow close, but how far can this relationship go in such a day-to-day existence?