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Review: Double Vision a.k.a. Shuang tong (2002): Atmospheric mystery but not without flaws!

genre: fantasy, horror, thriller, mystery

There is a huge chance you probably didn't even know of this film's existence. It's no masterpiece for sure but at least it tried to be a little creative in a genre that by now has been done to death. And honestly I liked it a lot.

So what are the elements that make this film a little unique? First, renowned actor David Morse is paired up with Tony Ka Fai Leung. An unlikely pair, who don't really match that well. However, still are able to create some chemistry with the little they are given. Morse is more like the old and tired expert on serial killers who has a lot of wisdom to share, and Tony Leung is the younger but naive cop who has learned his lesson in the worst way possible. They are both excellent detectives who are about to show everyone who is boss. 

Second, the setting and the culture. In specific Taoism. I mean back then this truly was pretty daring to be honest. And to be honest, I think they could have gone deeper into the religious and philosophical aspects of it. They do try to appeal to believers and non-believers at the same time, but quite a few things are left unexplained. I feel that one or two discussions between David Morse's character and Tony Leung could have been more expansive and meaningful. Obviously, Leung's character still wants to be a policeman, even when a little disillusioned. So when he is given the opportunity to do real police work and make his peers respect him again, it's a little odd for him to resist. Then again, he probably tried to remain under the radar while this case would put him in the middle of publicity and chaos. 

The film might have trouble starting events, once they begin things do get hectic and dangerous. Actually, some events are pretty surprising and disturbing. At the same time, it is a little far-fetched and fantastic. Why would intelligent and educated people act so brainless and stupid? They never even ask this question, let alone answer it. To me this was one of the most compelling elements and they hardly pay attention to it. And who is this mystery serial killer? And why and how is this person getting so much support from others? These are never explored. The most frustrating about this film that it very easily could have been incredibly evil and sinister. I would have applauded it. But I guess Columbia Pictures didn't want to go too dark. 

Overall, it is worth a watch, especially if you want to watch something fresh. Atmosphere wise the film is very similar to Silk a.k.a. Gui si (2006) which shouldn't be that surprising since screenwriter Chao-Bin Su directed it. 

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