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Reviews for August 31st, 2012

The Bullet Vanishes

Directed by Lo Chi-leung

      In 1930's China, two detectives, Song (Lau Ching-wan) and Guo (Nicholas Tse), investigate a series of murders that take place inside a bullet factory. The murderer leaves behind a very challenging pattern regarding his/her crime: the bullet casing cannot be found anywhere around the victims. Some suspect that the culprit might be the ghost of a factory worker who was killed by her boss for, allegedly, stealing bullets. Song and Guo believe that there's a human culprit behind the serial killings. Cue the autopsies, red herrings and gun battles.

      It's been a while since there was a good 'ol who-done-it on the big screen, so that makes The Bullet Vanishes all the more refreshing. On top of the many exciting, stylishly-directed gunfights and the excquisite set/lighting design, you'll find a riveting mystery that gets even more intriguing as it transpires. Most importantly, though, director/co-writer Lo Chi-leung keeps the story grounded in humanism. Song and Guo aren't merely detectives; each of them has their own idiosyncrasies and nuances that make them interesting and human. Both Lau Ching-wan and Nicholas Tse give charismatic performances which also help you to become engrossed in their detective work and hope that they get to the bottom of it once and for all. You'll find yourself at the edge of your seat from beginning to end through every twist and turn. None of the third-act surprises will be spoiled here, but it's worth mentioning that they function well within the film's internal logic instead of being gimmicky and tacked-on. Ultimately, The Bullet Vanishes is a stylishly-directed, intelligent and well-acted murder mystery brimming with thrills, suspense and intrigue. It deserves an American remake.

Number of times I checked my watch: 0
Released by China Lion Entertainment.
Opens at AMC Empire and AMC/Loews Village 7.

The Possession

Directed by Ole Bornedal


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Lionsgate Films.
Opens nationwide.

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