Mad Detective (2007) Film Mini Review

Mad Detective (2007) Film Mini Review

Mad Detective is a crime psychologically thriller film produced and directed by the famous duo Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai. It is their work submission for the Venice International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. There are a few veteran actors in this movie such as Sean Lau, Lam Ka Tung, and Kelly Lin. However, will these factors be enough to ensure this will be a great movie? Read on to find out!



The basic premise is about Detective Bun, who has a special ability to see through people’s hidden personalities/emotions. However, his quirky ways of doing things and in one case, cutting off his ear as a gift for his Chief’s retirement caused him to retire prematurely. One day, Inspector Ho, a young investigator, approached him with a new unsolved murder case. Soon, Bun encounters the killer, who has 7 personalities, the most complex person he has ever faced. Will he be able to solve the crime while the killer kills them first?

Screen Shot Mad Detective film

A Mad Detective…but is he truly madder than the murderer?



This film is just amazing and very crafty in its details. I love how it creates surreal imageries and giving human forms to each of the personalities. It is the way each personality interact with one another that turns a normal murder case into something different and exciting. I could see how the Directors’ visions of putting in a different actor for each personality works in tandem with Detective Bun’s mix of genius mind and his insanity. The film makes Bun almost like a madman, hence the title, in that he himself has hallucination problems. This makes the character having both obvious strengths and weaknesses that come from the same root.

Also, the existences of such hidden personalities create a different form of storytelling. With each personality having its own unique behaviour and mindset, it brings out the complexity of what is otherwise a normal looking murderer. The pacing is tight and things flow fast through the movie with non-stop tension and twists. Its music is equally mystifying and giving a sense of depth to the mysteries behind the murder, and that of the complexities of the characters. This film is ingenious in its storytelling method, perhaps one of the best I have seen from the industry, especially from Hong Kong.


Mad Detective (2007) Film Mini Review
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What's good?
Ingenious storytelling style
Very interesting mix of characters with different agendas
Mix of surrealism and insanity in its characters and setting
Very tight pacing that mantains tension and mystery
Impactful soundtracks that augment the atmosphere and mood
One of the best and unique films to come from Hong Kong!
Mad Detective proves that an excellent storytelling is still the key to create a very compelling film. Its story is actually pretty simple and cliche, however, the director uses an ingenious method to tell the story from multiple unexpected perspectives. The myriad of characters with complex relationships together with the mixture of realism and insanity help to make this film one of the best and most unique films from Hong Kong since its golden era!




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