School on Fire

School on Fire ★★★½

Ringo Lam’s ultraviolent triad tragedy is uncompromisingly bleak, especially when you wrap your head around the fact that these are children involved with and subjected to the very worst of humanity.
The plot involves high school student Chu Yuen Fong (Fennie Yuen) observing a violent assault at the hands of some classmates she recognizes. Pushed to testify in court against them, her life begins to collapse, with her learning that her school is teeming with young triad members who are intent on making sure she stays quiet.
Supporting her are the local cops Hoi (Lam Ching Ying) and Chuen (Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung), as well as sympathetic teacher Wan (Damian Lau). On the other side is the megalomaniacal, sadistic triad boss “Smart” (Roy Cheung) and conflicted weakling Scar (Terence Fok), who gets involved in a West Sixe Story-type romantic subplot with our lead. All the actors are very good in their roles, though you have to get used to the lack of subtlety. There is A LOT of shouting.
The film’s view of police, crime and the Hong Kong school system is very pessimistic. The overall atmosphere of the film is of fear, as you pretty much know that no one is getting a happy ending, and even those who survive the film will be physically and emotionally traumatized for life. 

4th collab watch

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