Stills of "Mad Detective"
(Courtesy from Shaw)
Genre: Drama Director: Johnnie To, Wai Ka Fai Cast: Lau Ching Wan, Andy On, Lam Ka Tung,
Kelly Lin RunTime:
1 hr 30 mins Released By: Shaw & Scorpio East Rating: NC-16 (Some Violence)
Opening Day: 29 November 2007
A missing police pistol is connected to a recent series of
heists and murders. Its owner WONG (Lee Kwok Lun) vanished
earlier while pursuing a suspect in the mountains. His partner
CHI-WAI (Lam Ka Tung) miraculously returned unharmed.
Regional Crime Unit inspector HO (Andy On) is in charge if
the serial murder investigation. He knows the only chance
he has in cracking the case is to ask for help from his mentor/former
boss BUN (Lay Ching Wan).
is recognized as a gifted criminal profiler until he went
mad several years ago. At his superior’s farewell party,
Bun sliced off his right ear and offered it as a present.
Bun lives in seclusion with his beloved wife MAY (Kelly Lin)
has the gift to see into a person’s inner personality.
This is where the subconscious desires, emotion and mental
state are laid bare. For Bun, they are the key to unlocking
a killer’s identity. But for Ho, Bun’s unorthodox
approach has put doubt in his mind.
comes to conclusion Chi-wai has a total of seven personalities.
The cop’s alternate identities are responsible for his
murderous behavior. However, Ho feels betrayed when Bun’s
investigation went beyond his imagination. Chi-wai’s
lies have managed to penetrate and corrupt his vulnerable
begins as a quest for answer has now taken a schizophrenic
turn where truth and lies, reality and delusions intertwine.
Short Movie Review:
Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai had once against push the limits
of film making with a thought provoking movie. Mad Detective
gave a memorable insight to how human’s psychological
might have work and with the fine ensemble here had painted
a cold, bleak and unflinching darkness of man’s inner
most thoughts, making this an unforgettable movie to watch.
The draw back here could be that it might not be that accessible
by the general movie viewers as Mad Detective requires it’s
viewers to have the patience to pay close attention to the
numerous characters and strange concepts which could be trying
Long Movie Review:
Since their last outing as co-directors for the thought provoking
Running for Karma (2003), Directors Wai Ka Fai and Johnnie
To had return to work together for another round of philosophical
musing in their latest movie, Mad Detective. This time, they
bravely utilize two medical conditions, Schizophrenia and
Multiple split personalities and weaved them into an exciting
and unusual “whodunit” movie.
one side of the law, there’s the loony ex police detective
Bun (played by Lau Ching Wan, the recent Best Actor Winner
for My Name is Fame)
who’s strange behavior due to his “special”
talent had left most friends and strangers keeping an arm
length from him. In Bun’s case, the irony here being
that a thin line separates his intelligence from madness and
what other people sees as a mental condition was actually
a rare unorthodox talent in solving tough crimes. But ultimately,
after his “Vincent van Gogh gift” act, he was
released from the police service.
forward to five years later, when he was pulled back into
a criminal investigation when his ex subordinate Ho (Andy
On) wasn’t able to solve a puzzling case involving one
missing cop, one missing gun and one highly suspicious police
officer Chi Wa (Gordon Lam Ka Tung).
events and character set up provided the directors and actors
an opportunity to layer a story with complexity and delightful
Bun, this movie offers an intriguing insight to the perspective
of a person suffering from schizophrenia by providing a cinematic
explanation on what could be possibly going on a person mind
while that person is hallucinating. It’s also brought
forth a tinge of sadness, invoke by seeing such desperate
escapism from a delusion man who could have been on top of
his game. There are very few actors in Hong Kong that could
engage with a credible performance which requires a delicate
balance of seriousness and zaniness like the Lau Ching Wan
could. I wouldn’t be surprise if his performance here
earns him another nomination at the Best Actor in Asian film
hero needs a strong villain to enhance the hero’s heroic
deeds and Lau Ching Wan’s performance was well supported
by Gordon Lam’s portrayal of the archenemy character
Chi Wa. Gordon Lam character offers another juicy insight
to how people with split personalities might function differently
from us, such as the thinking process and how different voices
could reason with each other before coming to a decision.
It even went on to contrast how one could lose one true self
to the different chain of thoughts and of course it was a
blast watching Gordon Lam playing such an wicked and manipulative
role (in the midst of some self doubting and confusing moments).
Bun and Chi Wa each represents the both side of the righteous
and the corrupted, Ho’s character would represent the
majority of the normal people. A personality trait that largely
represent the righteous which could just as easily affected
by the manipulation of others and in a way, it reveals the
darkness of one man’s soul even among the most noble
it has a fascinating in-depth look into multi-layered personalities,
the quirky manner that the investigation was done would probably
left some audience cold. The manner that the story unrevealed
itself could prove rather frustrating as a lot of actions
went unexplained and simply weird. For example, one would
expect Bun’s investigation method was solely focusing
on the criminal’s perspective but that not the case
as we get to witness Bun’s tumbling down in a suitcase
to get into the viewpoint of the victims. It’s hard
to comprehend such unconventional method which doesn’t
sound logical at all.
it could very well be the directors’ intention to delve
into the true essence of the mannerism of a madman’s
action where things they do are really hard to fathom. While
staying true to the essence of madness, it could really be
a test of one’s patience to wait for the chain of events
to be eventually played out. Beside the illogical detours,
the jumpy manner that the story was told didn’t help
much either as it would also requires their undivided concentration.
are the few drawbacks that might derail viewers from enjoying
this movie. If you are able to wait for the events to flow
and their concept of insanity, it will be an intriguing ride
to see how the mysterious characters with schizophrenia and
multiple split personalities unveil themselves through fine
acting and story telling.