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A troubled assassin, who works by orchestrating "accidents", suspects that an accident that happens to his team is not an accident at all.
For more about Accident and the Accident Blu-ray release, see Accident Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on November 29, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Louis Koo, Richie Ren, Shui-Fan Fung, Suet Lam
Director: Pou-Soi Cheang
» See full cast & crew
Accident Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, November 29, 2009
Hong Kong helmer Cheang Pou-Soi's dark and moody thriller "Accident" (2009) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Mega Star. The disc contains a three-part making of featurette and a theatrical trailer. Produced by Johnnie To and his Milkyway Image, earlier this year "Accident" was nominated for Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. With optional English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese subtitles. Region-Free.
There are four of them – the Brain (Louis Koo, Election I & II), Fatty (Suet Lam, Exiled), Uncle (Fung Shui-Fan, The Gang Don't Shoot Straight) and Woman (Michelle Ye, Sparrow) - and each is an expert in the art of killing. They have been staging "accidents" for years, and trying to save enough to retire.
The Brain is the Master Choreographer - he is the one who studies the target and designs the "accident". He is a perfectionist, and that is why everyone trusts him. The Brain, however, does not trust anyone.
Fatty is the "assistant". When the time is right, he makes sure that the target stays on course until the "accident" happens. If there are complications, he would intervene. Then, he would disappear as quickly as possible.
Woman is the "decoy". She would trick the target to the location where the "accident" must happen. Occasionally, she would assist the Brain in his research. Woman has beautiful eyes and a body to die for.
Uncle is the "watchman". He would inform the rest of the crew about the target's movement, whether the "accident" scene is safe, and prevent surprises from happening. Uncle has been a heavy smoker for many years.
An easy "accident" - eliminating the son (Richie Ren, The Sniper) of a paralyzed old man - however, goes terribly wrong, and Fatty is killed. The Brain immediately concludes that someone - or something - staged an "accident" for his crew. Determined to uncover who ordered the "accident" and why he never saw it coming, the Brain embarks on a treacherous journey that would cost him his sanity.
There are three different ways of deconstructing the story of Accident, and all three of them are equally fascinating. The first one takes into consideration the scattered bits of information that one is offered about the Brain's past throughout the entire film. Aligning them properly supposedly allows one to solve its giant puzzle...or so one is tricked to believe.
The second one takes into consideration the Brain's reaction immediately after Fatty dies. Did someone really trick his crew into the perfect "accident"? There are a few interesting possibilities here, so pay close attention to what is said throughout the film, and even closer attention to what isn't - the faces of the main protagonists are like open books.
The third and final one excludes the Brain's words and actions after Fatty's death and instead focuses on everything that surrounds him – people, objects, nature. This specific read of Accident ignores the limitations of the genre the film supposedly belongs to, but I find it to be the most rewarding one. There is something deliciously dark and unsettling about it; something that David Lynch fans should fall in love with.
Accident is directed by Hong Kong-based helmer Cheang Pou-Soi (Dog Bite Dog; Shamo), and produced by Johnnie To and John Chong. The film's terrific lensing is courtesy of Fung Yuen Man (The Last Supper).
The cast of Accident is comprised mostly of Milkyway Image, To's production company, regulars. The film's fantastic music score is courtesy of another regular To collaborator, French composer Xavier Jamaux (Mad Detective; Sparrow).
Earlier this year, Accident was screened at the Venice International Film Festival, where it was nominated for the prestigious Golden Lion Award.
Accident Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Cheang Pou-Soi's Accident arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Hong-Kong based distributors Media Asia.
This is a strong high-definition transfer, with some unique characteristics. Detail and clarity vary substantially, particularly during the Brain's memory recollections. On the other hand, the real time action looks well detailed and crisp. The nighttime footage is very dark, and at times the heavy blacks, browns and blues become overwhelming. Occasionally, mild digital noise pops up here and there. Edge-enhancement and macroblocking, however, are not a serious issue of concern. When blown through a digital projector, the transfer also remains tight around the edge. I did notice a few tiny flecks, but large and annoying debris, scratches, dirt, or stains are nowhere to be seen. All in all, Accident looks quite good in 1080p, and I have absolutely no problem recommending it to you. (Note: Despite the fact that the back cover indicates that this is a Region-A only disc, it is in fact Region-Free. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Accident Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three different audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1, and Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1. I opted for the Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track and later on did a few random comparisons with the Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 track for the purpose of this review.
The Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track enhances the moody aura of the film notably well. During the second "accident", for example, the surround activity is very effective (the heavy rain, the electrocution, the giant bus crash, etc). The bass is also rich and powerful. Xavier Jamaux's ambient soundtrack also benefits quite a bit - during the second half of the film, when the Brain begins his quest, the music has a very important role, and the Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 enhances it exceptionally well. The dialog is crisp and easy to follow. There are no disturbing pops, cracks, or hissings to report either.
I used a couple of scenes - the second "accident" and the final event - to compare the Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track with the Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Frankly, the difference between the two is enormous. The Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track conveys far more depth and fluidity (for example, test the electrocution scene to hear how dramatic the difference between the two is). Also, Xavier Jamaux 's ambient soundtrack is a lot more effective on the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track.
For the record, Mega Star have provided optional English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame. Please note that there are a few minor syntax errors with the English translation.
Accident Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Making of - a three-part featurette including interviews with the cast and crew, as well as raw footage from the production process. Unfortunately, the featurette is not subtitled in English. (480/60i 15 min).
Trailer - with optional Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and English subtitles. (2 min).
Accident Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If this article piqued your interest and you are now planning to see Cheang Pou-Soi's "Accident", do so without further researching the film. I am convinced that the less you know, the more pleasing your experience with it will be. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Hong Kong-based distributors MegaStar, looks and sounds very good. Absolutely, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND it.
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