Johnny To’s new film Exiled may be the best buddy film ever made. I’ll have to see it again to be sure, but on first look I think it just knocked Thelma and Louise off the top spot – and I thought that would never happen. From a five-element story perspective, what sets it apart is how strongly the driving Passion in this film – loyalty – is tested and eroticized as it is played off against the usual driving force in classic tragedy – fate. At one point the films heroes, after having gotten on the wrong side of every gangster in Macao, start flipping a coin to decide what direction to go next. The coin works its wonders and before long they have stolen a literal ton of gold – 2000 lbs. - and have all they need to escape, including a boat. But when loyalty becomes an issue again, they throw the coin away and man up, accepting that the passion that gives their life meaning is the need to do the right thing by a fallen friend. Flickering around the action like the blue edge of a flame is a gleefully larcenous hooker, a retiring corrupt comic cop, and a vengeful mother with babe in arms who is the films eventual financial winner. For a genre film largely devoid of artistic pretension, it is remarkably deep.