Sunday, 7 October 2007

Mad Detective (2007)

When watching the same average unoriginal crime is a tired experience, this film can offer some boredom relief.

Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear, and gave it to his prostitute as a gift. Why? Because he was mad. As is our made detective Bun. Mad people by its very nature think differently, perceive thing non-linearly. The madder you're, the more unconventional your thinking becomes, and the closer you're to being genius. Both Vincent van Gogh and detective Bun are schizo, especially when Bun didn't take his colourful pills. I'm quite sure that Wai Ka-Fai the talented writer had a leap of imagination from van Gogh and his medical condition.

When I watched My Left Eyes Sees Ghosts (2002), I was slightly - just mildly - surprise by the unusual departure from Johnnie To's usual crime genre. In My Left Eye, the female lead was able to see ghosts with her left eye. And in my (long) description for that movie in this list, I proposed that Yin-Yang Eye is a metaphor of somebody's ability to to see things she wouldn't want to see, or inner demons.

In this movie, detective Bun has a gift of seeing inner personalities that others can't. Once again, the idea of a gift of special vision. When you can finish your girl friend sentence, or know exactly how she would react in ANY given situation, it's said that you can read her mind. Metaphorically speaking. Not literally, only a psychic can do that (if that ability exists. Perhaps, that's what psychic is, a metaphor for people with special ability to get under people's skin, and think other people thoughts MUCH MORE than ordinary people).

In those 2 movies, those metaphors are turning into physical reality. But these are how many many many original literature creations come about - as metaphors for something else. Vampires, werewolves, Hercules, Thor, Superman, Batman, etc. Or the idea of a movie where that 2 characters swap bodies, literally (quite a number of those). Or the idea that somebody is being possessed by demons (even larger number of these). But these ARE original ideas, just like these 2 movies are.

Not coincidentally that both scripts are written by Wai Ka-Fai. Both are inventive in the idea of somebody possessing a special gift. Well, the Yin-Yang Eye isn't original, but having only one - the LEFT - Yin-Yang eye is a brilliant stroke, and totally original.

Seeing it from another perspectives (so to speak), her Yin-Yang eye reflects emotional issues that she has - that she denies to see the real truth, while seeing multiple inner personalities in others reflect on the mental issues that he has - that he's a schizo, a split personality. He's the only one who has more than one personalities in reality.

Like Exiled (2006), John To / Wai Ka-Fai are breathing fresh lives into this crime genre as least, and redefine it at best. It's looking like they're progressing in the quality of their ideas over the years. Keep up the good work!

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