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I didn't really know what to expect from this. I got more than I could ever have imagined.
It's an atmospheric tale, which is part mystery, part horror. Not horror in gory or bloody, but as in disturbing and just creepy.
There are really two story arcs which increasingly intertwine, the mystery killings and the personal life of Tony Leung's character, who made the mistake of being an honest cop and has ended up with nothing but trouble for it, having family trouble and being transferred to the foreign division, basically exiled from the regular police.
Two seemingly inexplicable and possibly supernatural killings take place, then a third involves a foreigner. This is where Leung really enters the case, when an FBI Profiler (David Morse) is brought in to help, and as a foreign division officer, Leung liaisons with him.
The two slowly unravel the mystery of the killings and slowly bond, in part because both are outsiders to the the rest of the police. Morse a foreigner, and Leung, exiled for his past deeds and his own troubled past.
I really can't get into the plot without giving spoilers, but it is largely based on Taoism, which at least for western audiences is pretty fresh. Some may make a comparison to the movie Seven, but I really don't think that's fair, as only 1 killing in this is really ritualistic. I really can't think of anything like this movie, I really found myself glued to the set, intrigued by the mystery and not knowing what was coming next.
Leung amazed me in Infernal Affairs, and he does just as good a job here. I've always thought Morse was an underrated actor (since he mostly is a character actor), and indeed with a lead role he turns in a great performance. The rest of the cast also turns in great performances, though those two are the only ones I recognize.
My only real complaint is the the ending, or parts just before the ending, are a bit confusing and somewhat muddled. But I suspect that was the point.
The movie really looks great. The cinematography does a great job of capturing the mood and the sound is also quite fitting. All around a really classy movie.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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