Johnnie To: Expect the Unexpected

Mad Detective

San taam

Johnnie To and Wai Ka-faiHong Kong89 minutes200714AColourCantonese

Dec 23
  • Press & Industry screenings and events are only for accredited passes.

Detective Bun (To favourite Lau Ching-wan, superb as usual) has the magical gift of seeing visible manifestations of a person's inner self, which aids him in solving crimes — but he is forced into retirement when his eccentricities get a tad too extreme (such as when he slices off his ear and presents it to his boss). Years later, Bun is recruited by a young detective to help with the cold case of a missing cop, whose stolen gun (shades of PTU) has been used in a series of robberies. The mismatched partners locate their culprit in the cop's former partner, whom Bun discerns is a composite of seven multiple (and murderous) personalities — but the "mad detective" soon finds himself embroiled in a nightmarishly complex game of betrayal and deception. Mixing fantasy, complex point-of-view games, and playful visual riffs (Bun's vision of the seven separate "selves" clustered around the villain is a delight), Mad Detective "engages us in a formal game that, thanks to its teasing opacities, becomes as eccentric, single-minded, and oddly touching as its protagonist" (David Bordwell).