Editor's Note: We can't all make it to the Toronto International Film Festival (which is too bad, since it's where some of the best films of the next year will be shown). But CT has the next best thing: daily updates during the Festival from our critic Ken Morefield. Stay tuned for the next week for capsule reviews and reflections on some of the world's most important movies.
The Police Officer's Wife, directed by Philip Gröning
A Promise, directed by Patrice Leconte
Blind Detective, directed by Johnnie To
A Wolf at the Door, directed by Fernando Coimbra
If you had told me before the festival started that my favorite film from Day 8 would be a Hong Kong riff on a buddy cop movie, I probably would have replied that "anything is possible." But I wouldn't have believed you.
My (snobbish) bad.
In Johnnie To's latest, Andy Lau plays the titular Blind Detective with a rare combination of cheek, humor, and narcissistic bravado. He is hired by a rich female inspector to help him close a cold case. American movies rarely mix comedy and crime, but To's film does so exceptionally well, and it throws in some romantic comedy to boot. Chong (Lau) visualizes the crimes and gains insights by reenacting them to understand better what he can't see. Director To sometimes shows the crime as it is visualized in Chong's head, a device that ought to play like a gimmick but instead breathes life into the criminal procedural. The wild and often sudden shifts from slapstick to serious also work far better than they should.
Most of all, though, there is the partnership at the center. Sammi Cheng's Ho is a unique take on the generic female cop role. She is both Watson to Chong's Sherlock ...1