Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fantasia 2010: Accident (2009)

This is the seventh film review in the coverage of Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival. Although I've seen other great films, this is, by far, the best film I've seen this year at Fantasia. In fact, like other films from this century, Pou-Soi Cheang's Accident adds itself to the world's great list of audacious crime thrillers.

The "Brain" (Louis Koo) - a cold man obsessed with details - leads a group of professional assassins who are specialized in staging murders that, in actuality, look like accidents. His team is made up of these assassins: an old man nicknamed Uncle (Shui-Fan Fung), a pretty woman (Michelle Ye) and Fatty (Suet Lam). The group's assassination method is so groundbreaking that even their clients nor the victims haven't seen any of the assassins. Besides, to top it all, Hong Kong's police has never catched the four assassins, because their "accidents", in the first place, have never raised any suspicion in the public opinion. However, after a mission that nearly failed, one member of the team dies. This is why Brain wonders if this was a pure accident or the work of someone who wants Brain's team out of the business?

Without a doubt, Accident is the best Hong Kong thriller since Infernal Affairs. Unfortunately, because of its slow pace, which is used smartly, Accident won't necessarily the same mainstream popularity that Infernal Affairs had. In spite of that, Accident is still a film that knocks your socks off because of its originality. Besides, you can tell that the money used for the film was well spent, because the story is not used as an excuse to pile up as many scenes of "accidents" as possible.

With its slick visual, its elegantly slow pace and Xavier Jamaux's music, the film is rather a brilliant study of Brain's transition from lucidity to paranoia. In fact, in a career-defining performance, Louis Koo's cold performance brilliantly underlines Brain's fragility. With Koo, the character looks so assured. However, as the film's advances, we get to see that in reality, Brain's paranoia just needed a moment to come to the surface. Moreover, Koo is also well supported by extremely competent actors who knows how not to overact even though their lines may sound bland.

Nevertheless, any reproach to the film should be made to its short length. In fact, with all the momentum that the whole film had built, Accident unfortunately doesn't take the time to illustrate how Brain builds his logic when it comes to trying to find the person who ordered the killing of his team. Other than that, Accident is a great film that will keep you on your seat more effectively than any Hollywood blockbuster. Besides, going through the film despite the slow pace is quite rewarding, because the plot twist at the end will blow you away.

Rating: 4.5/5

Origin:Hong Kong (2009)
Length:89 minutes
Screenplay:Kam-Yuen Szeto and Lik-Kei Tang
Director:Pou-Soi Cheang
Starring:Louis Koo, Michelle Yen, Shui-Fan Fung and Suet Lam

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