2007’s largest grossing film at the Hong Kong box office – the smash-hit Mad Detective – is one of the freshest and most satisfying films from that country in a decade. The traditional Hong Kong police film is turned on its head: the imaginative twist being our hero – Detective Bun (a role created for Lau Ching Wan) – who has the ability to ‘see’ people’s inner personalities or “hidden ghosts”. Breaking new ground and establishing new cinematic rules, Johnnie To’s latest giddily entertaining collaboration with Wai Ka Fai radically raises the level of storytelling in modern film.
Detective Bun was recognised as a talented criminal profiler until he sliced off his right ear to offer as a gift at his chief’s farewell party. Branded as ‘mad’ and discharged from the force, he has lived in seclusion with his beloved wife May ever since. Strangely, Bun has the ability to ‘see’ a person’s inner personality, their subconscious desires, emotions, and mental state. When a missing police gun is linked to several heists and murders, hotshot Inspector Ho calls on the valuable skills of his former mentor Bun to help unlock the killer’s identity. However, Bun’s unorthodox methods point to a fellow detective and take a schizophrenic turn for the worse…
Nominated for the Golden Lion at Venice, multiple prizewinner at the Asian Film Awards 2008, and winner of Best Screenplay at the 27th Hong Kong Film Awards 2008, Mad Detective has been simultaneously thrilling multiplexes and cerebrally challenging arthouses in the UK and across the world.
Following his directorial debut with the 1980 period martial arts fantasy The Enigmatic Case, To’s career came to something of an apex in the late 1980s thanks to such memorable action films as The Big Heat and tender, personal dramas like All About Ah-Long (the latter of which landed star Chow Yun-Fat a Best Actor award at the 1990 Hong Kong Film Awards). After taking the helm for such memorable action films as The Heroic Trio and directing Stephen Chow in such films as Justice, My Foot and Mad Monk in the early ‘90s, To moved into producing with the creation of independent film company Milky Way Films, a company which yielded such popular Hong Kong action efforts as Nai-hoi Yau’s The Longest Nite and Expect the Unexpected. Though To’s production company was indeed a success, his career behind the camera was in need of some rejuvenation, an issue which he readily addressed with the release of his highly praised 1999 crime drama The Mission.
Utilizing convention as a springboard… read more
Wai Ka-Fai is a Hong Kong writer, filmmaker, producer and former TV director and producer.
Wai is best known for his frequent collaborations with Johnnie To, another former TV turned film director and producer. In 1996, they formed Milkyway Image, which is now one of the most successful independent film studios in Hong Kong. The films that the two have made together as directors and producers include Needing You…, Fat Choi Spirit, Love on a Diet, Help!!!, Love for All Seasons, Fulltime Killer, Turn Left, Turn Right and Running on Karma. —wikipedia
I liked a lot To's way to switch points of view during the film. It never gave me the feeling that it was just an inept trick used by the filmmaker to make an impression on the audience. Highly recommended.
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