Geylang (Chinese: 芽笼) is a 2022 Singaporean crime thriller film produced and directed by Boi Kwong. The second feature film by Kwong, the film is set in the red-light district of Geylang and revolves around the intertwined fates of five individuals over the course of one night. It had its world premiere at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival in November 2022 and was released in theatres on 6 April 2023. (Wikipedia)

Singapore film has made its reputation on the arthouse festival circuit with auteurs like Eric Khoo, Royston Tan, Boo Junfeng and Anthony Chen making a name for themselves overseas. However, when it comes to bread and butter movie fare – like the crime thriller, for example – then Singapore film, it’s fair to say, has been struggling to match up with Asian fare, like Indonesian and South Korean action movies.

That’s where Geylang comes in, Boi Kwong’s ambitious sophomore effort is a taut crime thriller that attempts to squeeze in as much clever narrative, visceral action and shocks to the system as humanly possible in one night of story and over 90 minutes of photoplay. While the movie is definitely well made, with distinctive visual style, solid performances (especially from Mark Lee’s hapless gangster), dynamic fight scenes and tight pacing, the story is well, quite over the top and ludicrous.

Yes, there are big plot holes but thankfully, nothing that Kwong gives the thoughtful viewer too much time to dwell on with the slam-bang narrative that stretches the suspension of disbelief to its limit. However, that together with the over-used twists and misdirections threaten to turn Geylang into a confusing and illogical mess.

The good news is that Geylang is an entertaining movie experience if one does not get too much into the details of the plot or the logic of the whole affair. After all, too many of the Hollywood blockbusters get away with even worst storylines so it’s only fair to give credit where it’s due. Geylang has the chops to travel – especially in Asia – and there’s no reason why Singaporean viewers would not have good fun with this entertaining movie.

Now showing in cinemas.

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