Directed by Johnnie To
Official Selection, 2016 Fantasia International Film Festival
Closing Night Film, 2016 Taipei Film Festival
Johnnie To’s latest action thriller is a uniquely political beast. It takes place almost entirely inside the bustling and cramped confines of a Hong Kong hospital where Louis Koo’s embattled cop attempts to outwit Wallace Chung’s crafty headshot criminal while Vicki Zhao’s conflicted M.D. finds herself caught in the crossfire.
In an environment usually associated with control and protocol, uncertainty becomes the norm. The Hippocratic oath is quoted multiple times but for deceptive reasons. Antiseptic corridors transform into elongated coffins. The repetitive swing of hospital curtains continues to reveal and obscure the truth.
Despite the constant threat of chaos, To wields complete control over every frame, a maestro of motion unafraid of testing the boundaries of time and space. No wonder so many characters continue to attempt the impossible.
Doubling down on the bleak worldview of his masterpiece Drug War (SDAFF ’13), THREE initially feels like a striking homage to Hitchcockian menace and momentum but quickly reveals a deep cynicism for social institutions. The film concludes with a series of visual gut punches that do nothing to dissuade the viewer from seeing the worst in people. It provides a glaring realization that those who are trained to protect and serve can fail equally at both. –Glenn Heath, Jr.
Writer: Yau Nai-hoi
Starring: Louis Koo, Zhao Wei, Wallace Chung