Furburt reviews: Accident (film)

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And now, Furburt reviews his favourite film of the Dublin Jameson Film Festival:

Accident

Accident is a 2009 Hong Kong crime thriller, which is one of my favourite genres of film. Be they taught, psychological examinations of criminals or all out action fests like Hard Boiled, they never fail to interest me. They have a deserved reputation of being consistently well directed and choreographed, and Accident certainly doesn't disappoint in this regard.

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Accident's story follows a small group of professional hitmen who's specialty is meticulously planning out their murders so they look like accidents, and are thus untraceable by the police. The team is headed up by Ho Kwok-Fai (Hong Kong film favourite Louis Koo), known by his codename of pinky and the Brain. The other members of the team are a seasoned yet naive old man named Uncle (Stanley Fung), a woman whose name is never given (Michelle Ye) who is usually the bait, and an overweight, bumbling, yet still competent man appropriately code-named Fatty (Lam Suet).

They are hired by various factions, such as Triad gangs, to kill important enemies without raising suspicion. They are meticulous, so much so that after the first hit in the film, when Uncle tosses a cigarette butt on the ground near the scene of the "accident", Brain picks it up and reprimands him for it later, saying that the police could analyze the saliva on it.

The film is very well directed, with claustrophobic close up shots and an attention to detail as precise as the criminals they are portraying. It's not innovative per se, but it adds to the film immensely. The set pieces (Mainly the accidents themselves) are incredibly well choreographed. The films soundtrack is a haunting piano track, and it compliments the film very well.
The film also succeeds with it's depiction of the planning involved in such a delicate operation. In the films main hit, the success relies entirely on whether it's raining, in order to provide a conductor for a wire suspended from an electric tram cable to electrocute the target as he crosses the street. Sounds risky? It is. But the thing that sets it apart from other scenes like it is that it shows the failures and false starts.
Some nights it doesn't rain, others it rains too late, others something else happens. All this is accompanied by Brain saying over the radio 'Abort'. You sense the frustration of the team, and although it's never stated, you can sometimes feel that they'd much rather just shoot the target or something similarly easy, and get it over with. The film is driven by the teams troubles, Uncles approaching senile dementia, Brains paranoia, and whether they can trust who they're working for.


The trailer, to save you searching it up yourself

However, Brain is endlessly patient. In fact, out of the whole film, the unsmiling Brain is probably the best element. He's endlessly fascinating as a character, much more so than any other movie criminal I've seen in a long time. It's implied that he doesn't even really enjoy the killing, he just enjoys planning and strategising, perhaps to distract himself from his own problems. His wife was killed in an accident years ago, and since then, he's become bitter and angry.
Now before you slap your foreheads in exasperation at this tired-sounding plot device (My wife was killed in an accident, now I kill people in accidents! MWUAHAHAHAH!!), slow down, it surprisingly works very well.

In the scenes where Brain is shown coming home to his wife in the past, he isn't happy and smiley in those scenes and unsmiling and misanthropic in the others, he's essentially the same person. He doesn't smile either, but he's happy enough.

We don't see an evil genius taking his spite out on the world, we see a bitter man, racked by guilt over what he does and who's paranoia is tearing him apart, and as a result we have one of the most sympathetic film villains ever written.

One of the interesting things in this crime thriller is that the police are almost absent. The biggest enemy the team faces is itself in places, and it's unsure who the people who are out to get them are.

Another interesting thing is the total absence of any firearms or shootouts. The films action and heart pounding tension are created by the staging of the accidents themselves, which are shown in brutal detail.

Although the film will probably be compared to Infernal Affairs a lot, it's actually closer to Memories Of Murder, a South Korean film about South Korea's first serial killer. It's similar in that it relies on building tension to get your pulse pounding, as opposed to blistering action, which is probably what Hong Kong is most famous for.

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Brain (right) and Fatty (left) organizing a hit

However, like all films, it's not without it's flaws. This isn't so much a flaw as personal taste, but this is not a film for people who can't see a crime film without a gunfight in it. I was talking to some people outside of the cinema who were obviously thinking they were in for a film like The Killer and were very disappointed. Only the patient may apply.

At 86 minutes, the film is quite short, too short in places, and it sometimes feels like it's rushing in some places and taking too much time in others. The plot gets quite confusing around the middle of the film, although it does resolve itself very well (Although by the somewhat dubious use of a Deus Ex Machina).

All in all though, this is most definitely the best thriller I've seen in years, and as an exercise in tension and great writing, it's quality is peerless.

Furburt:
Accident's story follows a small group of professional hitmen who's specialty is meticulously planning out their murders so they look like accidents

...
Like a ninja?

OT: Well written.

I might check this out.
Sometime.
Might
Not very big on thrillers

But if I ever see it when I'm downtown, buying stuff, I'll give it a go.

tl;dr

Nah, I'm joking it was a great read. Seems like you actually reviewed it not just spewed out what happened in the film in chronological order.

Good work!

Yet another great review by the man him self FUUUUUURRRRBURT!

Superb read.

TheNamlessGuy:

Furburt:
Accident's story follows a small group of professional hitmen who's specialty is meticulously planning out their murders so they look like accidents

...
Like a ninja?

OT: Well written.

I might check this out.
Sometime.
Might
Not very big on thrillers

But if I ever see it when I'm downtown, buying stuff, I'll give it a go.

and this, you ninja bastard!

furburt. you continue to amaze me with your reviewing skilz

BloodyThoughts:
-snip-
and this, you ninja bastard!

No, no, no.
I'm not a ninja.

The guys in the movie are!

Well written, and it has pictures that keep the eyes from wandering off.

May need to check this movie out some time.

TheNamlessGuy:

No, no, no.
I'm not a ninja.

The guys in the movie are!

They really aren't.

The best thing to liken them to is Hitman Blood Money if you're trying to get Silent Assassin.

yersimapestis:
furburt. you continue to amaze me with your reviewing skilz

I thank you for calling my skillz leet.

This is going to be a very popular review, because you're a very popular member of the Escapist. There is a ton to improve on here, though. The phrase "The film" is overused to the point of it becoming obnoxious. The grammar needs work. You use a paint by numbers style, beginning paragraphs with "the story, the directing" and etc. I'm not trying to be too much of a downer -- this is a solid review. I just think you need to adjust your expectations for constructive criticism, considering your reputation around these parts.

Furburt:

TheNamlessGuy:

No, no, no.
I'm not a ninja.

The guys in the movie are!

They really aren't.

The best thing to liken them to is Hitman Blood Money if you're trying to get Silent Assassin.

Oooooh I get it now...
So Namless was the ninja after all!

Lets get hiiiiim!

mjhhiv:
This is going to be a very popular review, because you're a very popular member of the Escapist. There is a ton to improve on here, though. The phrase "The film" is overused to the point of it becoming obnoxious. The grammar needs work. You use a paint by numbers style, beginning paragraphs with "the story, the directing" and etc. I'm not trying to be too much of a downer -- this is a solid review. I just think you need to adjust your expectations for constructive criticism, considering your reputation around these parts.

I'd much rather people judge the review by its own standards, rather then by any 'reputation' I may have acquired.

But thank you for the advice, I'll certainly keep it in mind for my next review.

BloodyThoughts:
Oooooh I get it now...
So Namless was the ninja after all!

Lets get hiiiiim!

Wait...let's make it look like an accident.

Does Namless like power transformers much?

Because otherwise I'm out of ideas.

At least someone is reviewing films, and not just summarizing the plot... Nice work.

PS Is what film is your new(ish) avatar from?

Furburt:
Wait...let's make it look like an accident.

Does Namless like power transformers much?

Because otherwise I'm out of ideas.

We could 'accidentally' burn down his house.

You know, dump some oil around his house, then put a lit cigarette in the oil. Then bwoosh! It's the perfect plan!

Oh shit sucker double post, sorry bout that

Saul B:
At least someone is reviewing films, and not just summarizing the plot... Nice work.

PS Is what film is your new(ish) avatar from?

The Evil Dead, my previous one was from Evil Dead 2.

It's Bruce Campbell looking at a grandfather clock.

Good review, with little thing to improve on, which was stated by a previous poster.

Good review, is the film dubbed?

sethzard:
Good review, is the film dubbed?

Nope, subtitled. The language is Cantonese I believe.

Furburt:

sethzard:
Good review, is the film dubbed?

Nope, subtitled. The language is Cantonese I believe.

Good voice actors usually feel out of place, I'll have to look into that.

fantastic, well written review Furb. would you happen to know wether or not it can be found on Netflix? If so I'll have to put it on my list

Good work, man. The only thing that niggled at me were the adjectives used to describe the characters, up in the first paragraph. The words chosen seemed to contradict themselves.(Bumbling and competent are somewhat opposites.)

That's getting reeaallly nitpicky, though, so ignore that if you want- excellent job!

AgDr_ODST:
fantastic, well written review Furb. would you happen to know wether or not it can be found on Netflix? If so I'll have to put it on my list

I don't even know if it's released yet. It says it was released last year in Hong Kong, but it doesn't describe any other regions.

I was apparently one of the rare people that saw Internal Affairs BEFORE I saw the Departed... and when I saw the Departed, since I'd done little research before hand, I thought to myself, "This seems a lot like Internal Affairs, sans the ever brilliant Andy Lau."

Anyway, I'm very excited to see some sort of release of this movie. Keep me posted!

Have you thought about doing more "el furburto reviews..." user reviews?
I think I might go back and read them again...

OT: that was a great review, I might have to watch this. At least, I'll keep an eye out for it.

Milky_Fresh:
Have you thought about doing more "el furburto reviews..." user reviews?
I think I might go back and read them again...

The last time I did I got probated for 3 days. Apparently it's against the rules.

SavingPrincess:

Anyway, I'm very excited to see some sort of release of this movie. Keep me posted!

Since this was a film festival dealy, I'm not sure if it's got a commercial release outside Hong Kong and the Media Asia site is being a bit vague. I'll let you know if it's coming out anywhere though.

This movie sounds great! I hope that it shows up on my On Demand channel or at one of my local artsy theaters (Broadway, Rainbow Roxy).

 

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