Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Film Review: Nightfall (2012)


Nightfall (Review)
China/2012
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime:No

"...this by-the-books investigation lacks engagement and involvement."

Detective George Lam (Simon Yam) begins to investigate the mysterious death of Han Tsui, a famous and adored musician. Lam eventually begins to connect the case to a recently paroled mute, Wong Yuen-yeung (Nick Cheung), who may have a strong connection with his presumed targets.

Nightfall is a by-the-books crime thriller. It begins with a very stylized, wonderfully choreographed fight sequence. It follows with some cop clich├ęs -- out of touch single father with an estranged daughter -- and continues to the investigation. The mystery continues for the rest of the film with a by-the-books investigation; it's an interesting investigation, but not engaging nor involving. A few action sequences here and there, and you there's most of the film; the chase scenes are solid, and there is one particular scene I really enjoyed. The ending is mostly predictable -- there are some aspects you might not guess, but most of it is heavily foreshadowed. Despite the predictable finale, I did enjoy the final sequence.

Nightfall has several issues. I don't have a problem with by-the-book mystery films -- I enjoyed The Factory, which had a similar approach. However, this by-the-books investigation lacks engagement and involvement. Also, this investigation really isn't mysterious -- maybe I should be an investigator, cause I could see the ending from a mile away. This, in turn, makes for a prolonged and repetitive film. Especially the final recap scenes that show you the events over and over... and over. The unnecessarily lengthy runtime becomes a greater offense when it's paired with a slow pace.

The acting is great from most of the cast. Simon Yam and Nick Cheung work well together and have strong screen presence. The English actors were bad -- fortunately, their screen time was limited. I thoroughly enjoyed the music in the film. However, the sound mixing was off as the music was too loud and the dialogue was too low. The film is shot beautifully, the film oozes style. The special effects aren't great, but there not used often in the film anyway. The writing is by-the-books safe, doesn't take any chances, but never really develops some of its ideas either.

Overall, Nightfall is an okay crime thriller. There are some thrills to be had, the ending might surprise some, and the acting and music are great. The almost unbearable repetitiveness, the predictable, safe plot, and the bloated runtime are big negatives for me, though. I recommend streaming or renting before purchasing.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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