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Accidentdirected by Pou-Soi Cheangproduced by Johnnie To
starring Louis Koo, Stanley Fung, Michelle Ye, Lam SuetIn my view, To is one of the greatest living directors and his dark stylings and mordant wit seems detectable in this new film he has produced about a gang of hired assassins who cleverly disguise its killings as accidents. When a series of unexpected events intervene, the narrative and protagonist become possessed by the question: is this a conspiracy or is this mere coincidence?
The brilliance of this movie rests largely upon the formal means by which what seems to be incipient madness is conveyed by an excess of meaning rather than by its loss -- and the name of this mental disorder is paranoia. This terror is reminiscent of the Hollywood conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s, such as The Parallax View, but the narrative structure here -- predicated upon a suspension between two interpretive alternatives -- also recalls that of the fantastic genre classically analyzed by structuralist critic, Tzvetan Todorov; and director Cheang remarkably succeeds in sustaining this tension to the last moments of the film.
The screenplay of Accident is subtly and beautifully structured and transitions between reality and memory are effected elliptically, eliciting a disorientation in the viewer which reinforces the film's thematics. The film's cinematographer Yuen Man Fung displays an excellent understanding of the limitations of lighting for digital-intermediate -- thus, the transfer to 35-millimeter here is of superior quality.
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