Affecting and thought provoking, OUR TIME WILL COME is an acute spy thriller about family and sacrifice

Following LOVE IN A FALLEN CITY (1984) and THE GOLDEN ERA (2014), director Ann Hui returns once again to the Sino-Japanese War for the setting of her latest film OUR TIME WILL COME, an acute spy thriller about a young woman drawn into Hong Kong’s underground resistance movement.

Set in 1941 in Japan-occupied Hong Kong, OUR TIME WILL COME tells the story of quiet schoolteacher Fang Lan (Xun Zhou) who lives with her mother in a small run-down flat in Wanchai. Befriended by Blackie Lau (Eddie Peng), a charismatic leader of a resistance movement, Lan unwittingly finds herself involved in the mission to save novelist Mao Dun by helping to extract him and his wife from the besieged city. Worried for her daughter’s safety, Lan’s mother volunteers to take Lan’s place as a courier, only to be arrested on the job. To save her mother, Lan is forced to turn to her former fiancée Lee Kam-Wing (Wallace Huo) who now works for the Japanese.

Emotional, gripping and visually lavish, OUR TIME WILL COME is a touching spy film about family and sacrifice. Despite being based on true historical events, Hui chooses to focus in on the characters rather than the history, allowing the drama – and the characters – to develop naturally as they navigate through the difficult period in Hong Kong‘s history.

Xun Zhou and Deanie Ip in OUR TIME WILL COME

Xun Zhou delivers an unforgettable performance as Lan, the strong but initially reluctant activist risking her life for the cause she believes in. Eddie Peng is equally excellent as the charismatic Blackie, particularly shining in the adrenaline-charged action sequences.

But it’s Deannie Yip as Mrs. Fong who truly takes command of the film as the unlikely and tragically valiant mother, caught between the dilemma of her daughter joining the rebel forces and her own view of the circumstances.

Yet, while for the most part, the pacing in OUR TIME WILL COME is measured and thoughtful, the overly long Mao Dun sub-plot gives the film a somewhat episodic feel and overall, this is a drama that is more contemplative than exciting.

That said, OUR TIME WILL COME is both affecting and thought provoking, with some compelling performances from its strong cast.

4 out of 5 stars

OUR TIME WILL COME screens at the BFI London Film Festival on 8 October 2017