This Hong Kong thriller about a gang of pickpockets will steal your heart

Sparrow review

The slow-burn of a cigarette in a lip-glossed mouth, the languid sprawl of Hong Kong, and a jazzy, bluesy soundtrack give this Cantonese drama an arty insouciance.

Nodding to Bresson’s classic Pickpocket, director Johnnie To focuses on a group of ‘Sparrows’ – wallet snatchers – led by Simon Yam who encounter a flirty, flighty femme fatale (Taiwan’s Kelly Lin).

Full of New Wave cool, it’s a thriller too laidback to actually thrill but has so much offbeat charm (see the erotic interlude featuring an elevator and a balloon) that you’ll ignore the feeling you’ve just been hustled.

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