|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Index||11 reviews in total|
You know how it is when you cry wolf too much, or are one of those
pranksters who ultimately falls for a trick just because of you didn't
believe it can happen to you. Accident plays along similar lines, and
director Soi Cheang's latest film is an excellent atmospheric piece
that adds to Milkyway's repertoire of tautly crafted contemporary crime
Accident introduces a bunch of hit men who bump their marks off very differently. They are not hardened criminals who are on the radar of the cops, but operate in such stealthy fashion, from obtaining their contracts, right down to execution (pardon the pun) and retrieval of payment dues. The movie boasts two of such finely designed set action pieces sans guns ablazing, but full of meticulously planned cunning (in what is staple in heist films) carried out to a T, where death gets delivered to victims and made to look like freak acts of god, which of course takes a wee bit of stretching of the imagination since some bits do rely on coincidences to ensure a perfect degree of success.
The trouble amongst this group lies with the leader Brain (Louis Koo), whose crew consisting of Uncle (a welcome to see Feng Tsui-Fan back to the big screen), Fatty (a role that Milkyway evergreen regular Lam Suet owns), and a beautiful but unnamed woman (Michelle Ye), feel a little stifled given Brain's suspicious and paranoia nature. In what Brain preaches as Trust amongst his crew, it is actually trust that he personally doesn't embody, with frequent taps on his gang to ensure that they toe the line. The reason why Brain would choose a life as such was suggested in the prologue, which adds some emotional weight to the deliberate deadpan of the character, one conscientiously living off the grid, with no bank account, and no Octopus card too for public transport, preferring to use cash and not leave a paper trail.
It's the second half of the film that intrigued a lot more, as we're drawn into Brain's suspicious world from the time the second action sequence didn't go as planned, and went horribly awry. Refusing to believe in chance encounters since there are others in the business, and that their earlier victim had been a triad boss, we're thrusts into a web of possibilities to the chain of events that follow, which involves an insurance worker played by Richie Jen in what would be nothing more than a glorified cameo. You'll start to question whether Brain's set up from the inside (ala Brian De Palma's Mission Impossible), or is outwitted by Jen's character, or just drowning into his own delusions where his paranoia finally caught up with him.
And this became translated into the Louis Koo show. Of late he has been starring in a number of noteworthy roles, but his character here really took the cake. A friend of mine had commented that Lau Ching Wan would find the Brain character right up his alley, but I thought Koo did well enough in this role that involved minimal dialogue, of a quiet man on a warpath utilizing his trade to find some meaning in debunking that thing called Chance. I suppose you can also call it an occupational hazard of sorts.
The mood of the film will really get to you, with rain soaked sequences, moments of aloofness and loneliness (kinda like an art film at times too) and unflinching scenes of violence, with credit also going to the soundtrack by Xavier Jamaux, who has also been involved with and contributed to Milkyway productions such as Sparrow and Mad Detective. If you're a fan of the soundtrack from those movies, then you're in for a treat when you watch Accident.
Running less than 90 minutes, the finale, or the "Eureka" or moment of realization, is a scene that I'll remember for a long time to come. While it might have been similar to the Deux Ex Machina styled as employed in another Milkyway production in Eye in the Sky, I thought that it played into the themes of Chance, Fate and Karma all rolled into one perfectly shot and designed sequence, that had me at the edge of my seat and wondering how it would all finally play out. And when the answer is so starkly simple, you're left to ponder that you too have already become what Brain symbolized you have thought too much, and share in the same level of reluctance to believe in anything other than the situation having to be something overly engineered.
I would recommend that you give Accident a go in the cinemas, but of course if you're willing to put up with it being dubbed in Mandarin, and censored sex scenes being treated in the same manner as Overheard.
Accident might just be the most refined and intelligent piece of Hong
Kong cinema since 2002's Infernal Affairs. The film probably won't
prove as popular with mainstream audiences due to its almost
meditative, slow-burn pacing - but for anyone with an interest in
inventive genre cinema, Soi Cheang's newest outing is a must-see.
Taking its cues from Jean-Pierre Melville, Accident revolves around a group of assassins who stage their murders like accidents. The group is led by Brain (Louis Koo in a career-defining performance), who grows increasingly paranoid when one of the group's accidents goes awry and kills another member.
Thankfully, while the actual "accidents" are impressive and cleverly put together, Soi Cheang doesn't make the mistake of letting gimmicky set pieces dominate his film. Instead, Accident becomes a fascinating character study of a man who gradually destroys himself through paranoia and guilt. As such, the film largely depends on Louis Koo's performance - and what a performance it is; with this film, Koo finally deserves to be elevated from the hotpot of mediocre HK-popstars-cum-actors people used to include him in.
Add to this an elegiac score by Xavier Jamaux, elegant cinematography and you end up with the most compelling film to come out of Asia in the past 2 years.
If there is any problem to be found in this, it's that Accident is purely a Milkyway Image film, not a Soi Cheang film. Anyone hoping to find the director's trademark relentlessness here will be disappointed - although it could be argued some of the nihilism found in works like Dog Bite Dog was carried over into Accident's finale.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
FRESH from the Toronto International Film Festival 2009, this Johnny
To-produced movie has all the marks of an art-house flick. It has no
gun play, no martial art duels and not much in terms of fast-paced
action. It is, however, thick with tension, intrigue and paranoia.
All these will probably work out to a short theatrical run, attended by art film lovers and Johnny To fans.
"Accident" offers up a 'new' kind of assassins for hire. Led by The Brain (Louis Koo), the four-member hit team choreographs intricate accidents on their targets. Since the deaths will invariably be classified by police as a freak accident ("death by misadventure"), they are off the authorities' radar. Indeed, the Brain is meticulous in his planning and his nameless partners, Uncle (Fung Shui-Fan), Fatty (Lam Suet) and Woman (Michelle Ye) are experts in their own fields.
However, when one of the 'accidents' goes terribly wrong, Brain suspects that someone is trying to kill him - and he sets his sights on Fong (Richie Jen), an insurance agent who happens to be on the accident scene.
Directed by Cheang Pou-Soi, "Accident" is a highly absorbing and engrossing crime thriller, especially in the first half. Here, we are fascinated by how the 'accidents' are planned and carried out, by the eccentricities of the individual members and, especially, the paranoia of Koo's character. With each sequence, Cheang manages to draw us deeper and deeper into his web of meticulous intrigue that seems to leave nothing to chance.
Things start to fall apart in the second half when Cheang transforms the movie into a psychological thriller - with the perpetrator believing that he has become the target. His fear and quest for revenge make him careless (scribbling plans on the ceiling) and callous, suspicious of even his own members. The movie's credibility starts to strain and what could have been a masterpiece is flawed. - By LIM CHANG MOH (limchangmoh.blogspot.com).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this movie at the Helsinki International Film Festival, more
lovingly known as Love and Anarchy. The festival often caters to
Johnnie To/Milkyway fans and this year we were "treated" to Accident.
This review contains major spoilers, so if you are interested in the film, I would suggest skipping this review. In short, i think this movie contains a near perfect story, but one of the worst scripts ever.
The story involves a group of contract killers that evade suspicion by staging elaborate murders that look like ACCIDENTS (Great premise). The group consists of four members: brain, fatty, uncle and an unnamed girl (Got to love these aliases, I mean who asks people to call them brain...a prick). The leader brain's wife (probably nicknamed heart, or perhaps the original fatty) died in a car crash which it would seem instigated brains contract killer lifestyle, and he seems to believe that the car crash was no mere ACCIDENT. The group get a contract to kill this innocent looking wheelchair-bound older dude (really uncool, btw). During the hit, something goes wrong and one of the group members gets killed, and brain is convinced this was no ACCIDENT either. Crazy times. This instigates the second part of the film, which focuses on brains operation to find out who set him up, killing his group member, listening to strangers have sex, murdering an innocent girl with the power of the sun, and getting killed himself. And for what? NOTHING! Yup, that's the big realization. Brain was a maniac, paranoid guy that saw figures in the shadows and great big schemes where there were none. Most likely this was his way to cope with the death of his wife, such a horrible act needed some rational reasoning, it could not be just an ACCIDENT. The idea that this guy was doomed by his own imagination and past experiences is just perfect. If this movie was remade by something like a Scorsese/DiCaprio collaboration they could really make something great. As it is....it's really bad. REALLY BAD.
You see the problem is that nearly every scene is unrealistic and thus unbelievable, and furthermore no character acts even semi-rationally, which makes the movie unconvincing and the characters meaningless. They are simply devices to advance an incredibly stupid script. OK, so brain is this intellectual mastermind that can orchestrate these insane domino effects, right? Then how is it, that he can't notice that one of his four members is clearly suffering from severe dementia. I mean so severe that he is popping pills at the rate of Tic Tacs. And the director makes the point of showing that brain is so careful not to leave any traces, paying with coins from a cloth and changing modes of transportation to loose any potential tails. Yet, still the guy is always right next to the murders, doesn't use gloves and leaves prints everywhere, makes the money drops in a parking lot with cameras (why?), the point being that clearly the character and script have not been developed very far. The best example of this are the murders. They are just too much based on chance. The first murder is just silly, the idea being that in the end there is a fallen banner that covers one fifth of the marks windshield, and for some reason instead of just driving past, he gets out and pulls the banner down, which results in a window breaking and the glass killing him. The one that just made everyone in the theater laugh was a murder that used a wet cord from a kite to transmit an electronic shock to the wheelchair-bound dude. I mean the idea that someone could predict how a kite would fly in a storm and where it would land is seriously idiotic. Anyway.
The other major issue is that this group is not sympathetic. They are contract killers with no redeeming features. From an ethical point, there is no reason for the audience to root for them, and the lack of a clear enemy through out most of the movie takes a lot of the potential tension away.
So all in all, the potential is there and I must say that I personally enjoyed watching the movie, just because it was so silly and unapologetic in its stupidity (the eclipse at the end, and that road sign...), so in a way this movie would rate 1 star based on script and 10 based on premise, hence the rating of 5.
I'm not sure what to make of this movie. It's not a long film, and so
repeat viewings may make people appreciate its intricacies more. The
film revolves around a small tight-knit group of assassins who work by
killing their victims in ways that would appear to have been purely an
accident, the "accident" being decidedly gruesome once executed.
Led diligently by a straight-forward highly intelligent man they call "Brains", they work to ensure no trace can lead the deaths to themselves. When the tables are turned and a member is killed, the focus closes on "Brain" who struggles to find out what has happened and gone wrong, and who is out to get them.
It's a moody film and uses the claustrophobic HK atmosphere well. One problem is that it's hard to decipher all that is happening from one viewing. It can get ponderous and confusing. The acting is generally very good and the action of the deaths very well done, but it doesn't compensate for the lack of clarity. Then again maybe it wasn't meant to be a tidy film and that is the point.
Overall, I thought it was okay and interesting enough. Maybe with some more work and time on the script then it could have become far better. Not bad, but just not great.
Accident's trailer gives a promising setup of a thriller focused on a
team of assassins who make their killings look like accidents, but
there's no follow through. Thrilling this is not, especially when you
start to get into the grind of just how many niggling details have to
be accounted for to make a death believable as an accident and how many
things have to come together in the right way and at the right time or
the whole thing has to be called off and back to the drawing board.
The movie might at least be intellectually interesting, but nothing is particularly believable or smart (the film is only capable of telling us Louis Koo's character is a genius rather than showing us) and there's minimal plot, dialog, or character interaction. Questions that should be asked aren't. Questions that no one really cares about are lingered on too long. Louis Koo plays the main character, Brain, dominating the screen time, and the disappearance of each of the other capable actors, none of whom are around for long, is keenly felt. I've seen Koo give some fine performances, but here he must spend most of the movie alone and silent, with no one to play off of, which is a tall order for any actor, even if they have a stellar script, which Accident most certainly does not. The silence also conveniently leaves out the need for the film to flesh out Brain's theories and what he's thinking and we're just left to guess--perhaps the director thought this would be a clever style because it would put the audience in the same mindset as the main character, but it just put me in the mindset of wanting to go to sleep.
With the main character being a stony hired killer, there's no one to root for, and it doesn't take too many lingering shots of Brain furrowing his brow to convey the wheels of his genius brain are turning while conducting surveillance of mundane events until you stop caring. Slogging through to the ending adds little, so you might as well just move on when the boredom gets intense. There's really not any "twist" at the end that redeems things, as some reviewers try to make out; I don't know if the film's creators really even intended there to be. If you're "blown away" by the ending, either you haven't seen many movies of this sort, or you should probably consider yourself a pretty thick.
Accident is just another triumph of atmosphere over substance that relies on cheap tricks to bypass viewers' ability to think critically about the weaknesses of the script by implying things that never materialize and various other manipulations that leave you feeling used at the end when it becomes apparent that the things you had to forgive in the hope that this was leading somewhere have led nowhere worth going. Overheard (2009), also with Koo (and Ching Wan Lau and Daniel Wu), comes to mind as an example of a better surveillance-themed movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A fantastic surprise. This movie I absolutely loved. I'd encourage you to get this without reading anymore on the topic. Still, here's my review. The film begins with a well shot scene involving lots of close- ups on the most mundane of objects. It's shot with a taste of suspicion. Imagine the death scenes in Final Destination and that's what we have here. A little more toned down than that but you should certainly have an open-mind for jumps in logic. Accident has the kind of high-concept plot that you'll find scattered around movie land. A gang of assassins makes their hits look like accidents, but it all goes pear shaped when an accident befalls the group themselves. Only, was it an accident. The nature of these assassins work leaves them paranoid and restless. The film is successful because it takes the mature route of exploring its themes. There is some action, but it gradually winds down into a more procedural spy type film. The main character is a man that has dealt with loss, and then dealt it out himself. He sees nothing as an accident, but are the recent events hostile acts against him, or just coincidences? Each action scene is marvelously underplayed, with minimalist-no music. By the time the final credits role I was emotionally exhausted and thoroughly entertained. A high-concept film, that requires both brains and letting some logic slide.
If every effect is the son of the cause and every cause is simply the
inescapable track towards it, then what is an accident? Is there really
a possibility that the events in this world can move without direction,
without any puppeteer, at no charge? Brain does not believe in chance.
His wife died in a car accident with no apparent responsible and to
believe in coincidences would mean to give up any why. Uncle, Fatman
and Woman are other accomplices (no other specific name will be given)
with which the brain, for a fee, plan very complex human models that
transmute a murder into what seems nothing more than an accident. When
the organization clashes with the unexpected death of Fatman during the
staging of a difficult job, then something clicks in Brain, who
betrayed his illusion of total control of human events, begins to
investigate on the event becoming suspicious of his own friends.
Paranoia, revenge and mirror games become the ingredients of the
investigation against those who would have sabotaged the puppet theater
of which he is a betrayed deus ex machina and will accompany us to a
final resolution (that is one of the best things about this movie). Soi
Cheang is part of the team of Johnny To and the new Hong Kong cinema.
The Chinese city is perpetually shrouded in an aura of inhuman and
sometimes sterile suspension. Violence erupts as is, without too much
indulgence and without any cutting. The intricate accident sequences
are thrilling in their complexity and streaked here and there by a
certain poetry. The rain, the neon lights and a solar eclipse dusty
become the dominant hue of the photography. We can think Brain not as a
criminal, but a sort of artist who paints on a canvas the instruction
book of human-robot who thinks he can choose, who thinks things
randomly happen to him, who thinks he's really living.
Giovanni Cassanese www.kayfa.be
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the sort of movie I love if done right. I will say right off
the bat this one is not done well. The premise is good = a gang of
contract killers arrange murders to look like accidents however a real
accident throws a spanner in the works.
The murders reminded me of those serial action games we had as kids where one thing leads to another in a complicated sequence--a marble rolls down an incline to land on a lever that activates a spring that pours some water etc etc.....What ever happened to those toys? I guess computer games preempted them.
The story line is good if only they had polished it up and made it credible. The murders are accomplished by impossible to believe complicated serial actions that are just that UNBELIEVABLE. The first murder victim gets out of his car because a canvas sign is covering part of the windshield (this is near the end of one of these unbelievable trip wire sequences)...why doesn't he just drive on? Better yet have the sign cover the whole windshield and make it believable! In another murder an old man in a wheel chair rolls down a street out of control to the exact spot where a wire is dangling from a high tension overhead power line---put there by a kite in a rain storm. The odds of this working are exactly zero.
The visuals kind of sum up the caliber of the film....gory unconvincing exaggerated death sequences with watery blood gushing out of mouths..Things burst into flames to emphasize their end (cars kites).
The over arching plot where paranoia tricks the main character is a great idea...but please write a more convincing story--having an eclipse of the sun ruin one of these planned murder/accidents is stupid idiotic boring bad etc...
Art Film Quality? You have to be kidding---well maybe not considering what wins at those things.
How is wish this movie had been better!
I rate this movie low but it could have easily been so much better. It is one of my favorite genres and is in fact watchable.
RECOMMEND SUSPEND DISBELIEF
if you like Johnnie's movies, this should be among your list
remarkably, this movie is shot with only few characters but to an
excellent portrayal not much talking with most of expression & meaning
conveyed just by eye or facial movement
the curiosity & intense is able to get you focus through the entire movie unexpected death scenes much alike to the final destinations fame gives it extra entertainment
it's been quite some time we have enjoyed great hong Kong films since infernal affairs & exiled go watch it (definitely better than vengeance)
|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|External reviews||Official site||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|