Nightfall (2012)

Screened as part of the San Francisco Film Society’s fall Hongkong Cinema Series, Nightfall was one of the most enjoyable films I have seen all year. It has been years since I’ve seen anything derivatively classified “Hongkong Cinema” and it was a good reminder to reacquaint myself with the key films which have come out in the past decade or so.

I was definitely not in the mood for anything violent – I never am – and Nightfall is extremely graphic in its violence, unsparing in its horrific subject matter. I turned away from even the most stylized of violent scenes. However, it was still enjoyable: I was in the mood to see something plot-driven, suspenseful and thrilling, and this film give all that. I liked the kind of acting in the film – straightforward and true, all to the service of the narrative. I also liked the genre-ness of Nightfall – the editing, the twists, the portrayal of city life, the tension between the lower-class dispensers of justice and the upper-class perpetrators of crime. Murder and mayhem is a class equalizer. Bad parenting apparently also transcends class, illustrated by the interesting and fantastically creepy parallel narratives between the key male characters and their daughters.

With two of Hongkong’s finest, Simon Yang and Nick Cheung.

Nightfall. Dir. by Roy Chow Hin-Yeung. Edko Films Limited, 2012. In Cantonese and English.