Confession of Pain
Hong Kong 2006
Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak.

The Writing and Directing team of the famous INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy (Andrew Lau, Alan Mak, and Felix Chong) reunite for another tale of police treachery and two men at odds with each other, one trying to find the truth, the other trying to bury it. Heart-throb Takeshi Kaneshiro plays yet another of his broken hearted sad-sack roles, this time a drunken, ex-cop private eye whose girlfriend killed herself. And Tony Leung, who probably signed on to the film only if he could be the bad guy this time, is a cop who has a habit of brutally beating people to death. They are the best of friends, though, until the private eye is hired to investigate a murder covered up by the cop. And their relationship gets a bit rocky from there.

This is not a whodunnit -- as "who" shows his wicked streak in a pre-credit sequence and is shown comitting the crime. This is all about motive. Which is a welcome relief from the endless parade of movies that insult the audience's intelligence by either creating an impossibly complex mystery that cannot be solved except by guesswork due to all the last minute twists, or worse, showing lots of walking boots and gloved hands so we don't know who commits the crime, even though it's pretty clear. Instead, what tension there is (and unfortunately, there isn't very much -- certainly a failing of the film) comes from the audience knowing who committed the crime and wondering why, and whether anyone on screen is going to figure it out.

Supporting the star duo are Chapman To, Shu Qi, and Jinglei Xu. Shu Qi returns to a role similar to her bubbly, happy-go-lucky triad girlfriend of the YOUNG AND DANGEROUS series, which I found delightful, but your mileage may vary. She is the only sunshine in an otherwise completely depressing film, where Hong Kong is always under clouds, and everything is lit a sickly yellow color, and no one can walk upright because of the opressive burdens placed on them by circumstance and sometimes by choice. It is a city and life that can not be lived, it can only be escaped, through alcoholism, or suicide, or the warm embrace of Shu Qi. I don't know about the rest of you, but I choose option three.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on September 12, 2007.

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