Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MAD DETECTIVE (2007) -
Johnnie To & Wai Ka-Fai


Director Johnnie To (with protege Wai Ka-Fai) continues to wow me, spicing up what could have been another bland police procedural with some schizophrenic Sriracha sauce by taking the point of view of an off-his-meds loony ex-detective to dizzyingly audacious heights.

Detective Bun (pictured above) has a thing for re-enacting crime scenes, sometimes to the point of lopping off his own ear Van Gogh style and presenting it to the chief of police. It's his way of deciphering the details of a crime for which he was not present. He claims he can see a suspect's inner personality (often played by a different actor than the first). But the latest suspect he's been called back from retirement to help investigate is a veritable Sybil of inner souls. We're talking seven or eight other personalities, some male, some female. Soon, things start to get Christopher Nolan level tricky. But instead of keeping tabs on the dream levels you're falling through (ala Inception), you're tracking the multiple personalities of the various suspects and various old girlfriends. Is the Mad Detective onto something, or is it all just in his bandaged, bungled head?

If you're new to Johnnie To, I'd suggest starting with his superior Election/Triad Election series before this one. Maybe even Exiled.

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