A team of scientists led by Hashimoto has managed to capture the energy of a ghost child, thanks to their newly invented device called Menger Sponge. The child, isolated in an empty flat, moves his lips to words no one understands. Hashimoto enlists special agent Ye Qi-Dong, who is able to read on lips, in order to figure out how this child can shed light on life...and especially life after death...
Directed by: Chao-Bin Su
. Starring: Chen Chang
, Yôsuke Eguchi
, Kar Yan Lam
, Barbie Hsu
, Bo-lin Chen
, Janine Chun-Ning Chang
, Fang Wan
, Kuan-Po Chen
, Chi Chin Ma
, Leon Dai
, Kevin S. Smith
, Masane Tsukayama
, Kouhei Masiba
. Music by: Peter Kam
This is not the best movie that I have ever seen, but it comes very close. In fact, I haven't had the experience of being at the edge of my seat for a long time now, but for this movie, I was constantly at the edge of my seat. And that's saying something.
The idea is effectively new, and interestingly captivating. The story itself is cohesive and very sophisticated, something that recent movies lack. The writer uses science to explain supernatural phenomenons like ghosts (no, it is not the Matrix assimilating a program that is doing what it is not supposed to do). And it's no simple science we are talking about here. Although I could understand the story, my friend who is a college IT lecturer couldn't. On top of that, the writer can even anticipates what the audience will ask. Every time I came up with a question, one of the characters on-screen asks that very same question. As can be expected from the writer who wrote Double Vision (although I didn't really understand that movie as a whole - but it was a good story nevertheless). Characters developments were immensely heart-wrenching, although it was only focused on two characters. There was a scene where I actually closed my eyes and turned away from the screen, and I was crying.
The editing and plot were superbly done. For a movie that could have bored the audience easily, this movie interlaced long explanation sequences with actions and scare scenes. This is the main reason why I was at the edge of my seat. I kept waiting for the answers but at the same time being caught in the action on-screen. Brilliant! The acting was the next commendable area of the movie. Chang Chen gave a very solid performance as both a cop and a son in distraught. Karena Lam also gave a memorable performance here as a woman who is willing to sacrifice for love. Yosuke Eguchi's performance reminds me of Tadanobu Asano's performance in Ichi The Killer. Although less masochistic, Hashimoto's character gave you the sense of someone who has a strong hold on his own believes, and he is willing to go further than most people to get what he wants. Yosuke Eguchi was brilliant as Hashimoto, being able to bring out that pain and stubbornness within the character. The casting director should get an award for this alone.
Art direction was very good. The building of the set was not only believable, but also gave out the correct atmosphere to compliment every aspect of the movie. There are no overkills like those you see in Pulse. The backgrounds were nicely done, and house decorations are kept to a realistic level. No unnecessary marks on the walls, no abundance of abandoned furniture, and definitely no worms squirming on leftover food or unwashed dishes. An abandoned apartment looks like an abandoned apartment. Just look closely on the beginning sequence and you will see what I mean.
Camera works were good and innovative, but more importantly, there were effective. The lighting was perfectly done. I got goosebumps just from the atmosphere alone.
With those said, let's look at the negative side of the movie. Directing was not very strong here. No fatal mistakes were made by Su Chao-Bin, but there were nothing much to impress either. My only major complain is the scare scenes. They were by far the worst ideas I have ever seen. It was still good in the beginning, but towards the end, they were downright funny and unimaginative. Those who came up with the ideas, and those who approved them, should be shot in the kneecap. This movie can be really scary if only the scenes were done right. What an unfortunately and unnecessary weakness.
The music was insignificant. I can't recall really, if there were any background music to accompany the movie. They just don't register. It didn't help the movie, but at least it didn't ruin it. Also, I don't really like the multi-lingual dialogs. More often than not, I find myself switching between listening to the dialogs and reading the subtitles, which in this movie where many explanations were essentials (and often very long), it can be easy to get lost. Why? Because the characters often switch languages right in the middle of a conversation! Also, I don't care much about the politics portrayed in the movie.
It could work just as well with only one country being involved in the case. How many Japanese can speak perfect Mandarin, and vice versa? Overall, the movie was good, very good, but it could have been great.
Review by chongchuanmun from the Internet Movie Database.