In Between Floors

This was much more enjoyable than I expected it to be. The trailer looked amusing but I’m accustomed to local movies (or just indie movies in general) being a bit of a let-down so I went in with low expectations. The story is short and simple: An “Ah Beng” guy (Alvin Wong) gets stuck in a lift with a “banana” girl (Dawn Cheong).

I really don’t know if anyone outside of Malaysia/Singapore will really get this movie. I don’t know if someone of non-Chinese descent would entirely understand the points being made in this movie. But I certainly did find many things in the story relatable on some level. (Probably because I am one of these “bananas” although I don’t have as pronounced an accent as the girl in this movie does.)

The Good

  • It’s a very Malaysian story, and specifically one that addresses the subset of Malaysians that I belong to – the “banana” category, the Anglicised Chinese Malaysian.
  • A well-written script. Nothing much actually happens in the movie since they’re stuck in the lift for about 90% of the running time, but the dialogue keeps it going quite well. When I went to see it with Square, the hall wasn’t full but the people seated around us all clearly enjoyed the jokes – at points, the laughter was so loud we missed the subsequent lines. The part where the guy was trying to teach the girl some Cantonese swear words was quite funny; I could almost sense everyone taking a few moments to mentally translate his words from English back into Cantonese to see if it made sense. His attempt to explain the differences between “Ah Lians” and “La-las” was also hilarious.
  • It didn’t end with a romantic twist! Thank goodness.

The Bad

  • Hmmmmm. The security guard? This was the only other character in the movie with more than a few lines. You never see his face, but he spends the whole time taunting the poor duo in the lift, amusing himself by talking to them and making them call him the “Voice of God.” It was funny at first but towards the end he got more and more irritating. However, he was somewhat necessary as a way to demonstrate the progress (or lack of progress) towards them getting freed from the lift. Still irritating though.
  • Alvin Wong is not quite “ah beng” enough, as Square pointed out. (And his “Ah Beng” accent seemed to falter in a few scenes – his normal, less “Ah Beng” manner of speaking reasserting itself? haha) The stereotypical image of an “Ah Beng” is more annoying that what was portrayed in the movie. But maybe that only serves to underscore the fact that we shouldn’t over-generalise, and that people are not always exactly as we expect?

And the Random

  • Product placement was pretty obvious in this movie. It wasn’t intrusive and didn’t interrupt the flow, but you could guess fairly accurately what items were sponsored. hahah
  • The graffitti on the lift walls was fun to look at. All sorts of random stuff!
  • Their discussion of names – English and Chinese – was quite interesting.

Rating: ★★★★ (3.5 stars might be more accurate, but as I enjoyed it enough that I wouldn’t mind watching it a second time, I think it deserves 4)

Got anything to add or say? :D