A 16-year-old prostitute is found slaughtered in an apartment, killed by her john who then mutilates her corpse, butchering it like a pig’s. The murderer turns himself in the following day and the police detective assigned to the murder case goes on a emotional journey as he—along with the audience—finds out, little by little, what led the girl to her horrific demise.
Port of Call will spook you in the way a good psychological thriller will. It is tastefully gory, but also emotionally charged. It leaves you feeling unsettled and thinking about it for days afterwards, which you may or may not appreciate.
While it doesn’t feature any stand-out or noteworthy female characters, it does feature an interesting leading man—Chong, the emotionally wounded detective handling the case—who unselfishly gives every bit of himself to his work, to help give closure to the family of the murdered girl as well as to get some closure himself. Still haunted by a previous case in which a small child watched her mother get murdered in front of her, Chong is distraught and pushes himself to find out exactly what happened that led to the murder to the young prostitute in order to bring her the justice she wouldn’t live to see.
It’s a heavy movie that will draw your attention and cling to your heart with long, icy fingers. The dark and moody atmosphere littered with the occasional joke or laugh is a delicious combination and an example of fine filmmaking. That said, don’t expect to be blown away or jump in your seat by this movie.
Port of Call isn’t there to give you thrills, nor is it there just to entertain you. It’s there to lead you through this macabre mystery and ensure you never shed that unsettling feeling of the unknown.
Port of Call screens as part of this year’s Reel Asian Film Festival and will screen on Wednesday, November 11 at 8:45pm at AGO Jackman Hall.