Nightfall

 

Nightfall

[Daai deoi bou]

Screenplay: Roy Chow & Christine To

Cinematography: Ardy Lam

Production Design: Pater Wong

Editing: Cheing Ka-Fai

Sound: Kinson Tsang & Lai Chi-hung

Music: Shigeru Umebayashi & Frederic Chopin

Produced by Ivy Ho & William Kong

Directed by Chow Hin Yeung (Roy Chow)

Hong Kong Theatrical release: March 2012

 

Featuring:

Nick Cheung

Simon Yam

Janice Man

Michael Wong

Kay Tse

Shawn Dou

Candice Yu

  

Production Studio:

Theatrical: Mega Luck Asia Ltd.

Video: Well Go USA

 

Video

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 ???

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc size: BD-25

Feature size: 18.76 GB

Bit Rate: Moderate (ca. 18~26 Mbps)

Runtime: 107:30

Region: 1

 

Audio:

Cantonese DTS-HD MA 5.1

 

Subtitles:

Optional English SDH

 

Bonus Features

• Making of - in anamorphic SD (47:40) 

• Original Theatrical Trailer

 

Presentation:

Blu-ray Amarary Case: BRD

Street Date: May 21, 2013



Synopsis [Well Go]

A Hong Kong celebrity is found floating in the ocean, so detective Lam (Simon Yam) is called in to find the murderer. He quickly identifies a killer from the past - a brutal man just released from prison (Nick Cheung) with possible ties to the family. But the more he investigates, what Lam surmises as a clear-cut case of revenge becomes murkier. The closer he looks, the truth gets harder to separate from suspicion. What unfolds is a crime from the past, and twenty years of lies and a secret so shocking it threatens to pull the entire case down. Who is the victim and who is the killer?


     

 

Critical Press

With Nightfall, misdirection is very much the order of the day, the film doing its best to pack in the red herrings and narrative trickery. . .it’s an amusingly hysterical affair with plenty of daft twists and turns along the way. Although the film is let down slightly by an occasionally pedestrian and patronising script by Christine To, it still holds the interest through an entertainingly, at time near soap opera style stream of flashbacks and overwrought exposition scenes. The central mystery is actually quite strong, and though the films big reveal is likely to be fairly obvious to most viewers, it’s still a fun and reasonably coherent ride as it builds to its satisfying climax.

     

Of the cast, Cheung unsurprisingly comes off best, having been gifted the film’s most interesting character in the conflicted Wong Yuen Yeung. Whilst his supposedly startling character arc is clearly mapped out by the script, he manages to convince as a very violent man indeed, at the same time adding enough humanity to make him an ambiguous anti-protagonist type of figure. Yam is fine and on his usual likeable form without having much to work with, though really, the film belongs to the one and only Michael Wong, who despite not having half as much screen time as he deserves, really steals the show with some hilariously bizarre overacting and ranting. All of this adds up to make Nightfall a very entertaining watch. . .there’s definitely something to be said for their wacky brand of old fashioned, lurid genre cinema. – Beyond Hollywood, James Mudge

     

Essentially a drama-driven whodunit, the pic draws interesting parallels between George’s and Eugene’s [the cop and his suspect] respective pasts and their astute yet driven personalities, deepening the detective’s increasingly ambivalent role as the ex-con’s hunter and defender. However, the exposition lags, overstaying its welcome with a cumbersome crime-scene re-enactment accompanied by a long spiel that dryly clarifies every point. Ardy Lam’s fluid lensing delivers crisp images of pristine natural scenery (something of a rarity for Hong Kong-set pics) and glittering neon-lit panoramas of the city by night; however, a consistent visual tone is absent, due to the jarring alternation between heavily saturated and garishly desaturated color textures in interior scenes. Sound is exceptionally clean and resonant, while composer Shigeru Umebayashi (Trishna, In the Mood for Love) seamlessly shifts among edgy cello music, plaintive piano notes and sweeping orchestral melodies, repping the pic’s biggest treat. – Variety, Maggie Lee

     

Video: 9
You may compare some of my screencaps to last year’s Hong Kong Edko Blu-ray as shown at Blu-ray.com. Assuming we arrived at our caps by a similar enough method we can see that the color palette is much the same, but the Well Go allows for a little more light throughout. I found, as that reviewer did, that the transfer is pretty much faultless. With a moderate bit rate that enjoys peaks at 40 Mbps and above, contrast is in perfect control with extended high and deep blacks, and textures have plenty of detail. There appears to be no enhancement or other undesirable manipulation.


     

  

Audio & Music: 10/9

It is typical of Well Go that Chinese 7.1 video mixes are remapped to 5.1 for North American Blu-ray release. What is unusual in this case is that the original Hong Kong Edko Blu-ray was not only Dolby TrueHD 7.1, but 96 kHz/24 bit as well – one of the first of its kind in this medium (and to date still long overdue for Blu-ray opera where it is most needed.) Svet Atanasov, writing for Blu-ray.com makes this observation about the Edko:


This is the first Blu-ray release with advanced 96K upsampling to reach my desk, and I must admit that I am very impressed with it. The Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track is hands-down one of the most aggressive I've heard in a very, very long time. It has a tremendous range of nuanced dynamics and surround movement truly is elevated to an entirely different level. The sound is also razor sharp and clear. This being said, I wonder if some viewers may feel that the extreme dynamics are changing the sound design of the film. Some of the action sequences are truly testing the limits of what I believe is appropriate for home viewing.


     

 

Until I am able to obtain a copy of the Edko for myself, I will hold off thoughts on how the Well Go is different, or what Atanasov means by “the extreme dynamics are changing the sound design of the film.” It is that he has some knowledge of what the filmmakers’ true intentions are regarding the sound design or that the Edko has already overwhelmed the ability of his sound system to properly deal with it? In any case, Atanasov does bring up an interesting point, if unwittingly, and that is that audio mixes prepared for home viewing are not the same as theatrical mixes. It is likely assumed by the casual viewer that there are identical but in fact they are not. Someone re-designs the balances and dynamic scale for home theatre use; and in doing so, makes certain assumptions about your playback equipment. But even if the two mixes were identical, the theatrical experience is dramatically different because of the sound reproducing system used and the venue itself. As obvious as this is, it is a feature of the home theatre experience often overlooked.


     

 

All that aside, I can attest to the Well Go’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix as being mightily impressive. Most movie audio tracks are transferred at such a high level that I need to dial down the playback volume in order to obtain a listenable level. The exceptions are among the most impressive audio tracks on Blu-ray just now: The Tree of Life, Hanna and Melancholia are three that invite volume setting right close to my 0 dB or 100% level. The same is true for this Nightfall. I speculate that the higher level setting also allows for greater headroom and dynamic contrast. Once a proper level is set for dialogue, the music and effects fall where they may and in this case that point is well below the rest, maybe a touch too low, such that voices never achieve that ripe bloom we associate with theatrical rendering. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be so. My reason for a score of 9 instead of 10 is not this, however, but for the relatively thin sound of the piano played by Janice Man on camera throughout the film.


     

 

Bonus: 6

Well Go provides a 47-minute Making-of documentary that addresses all the usual areas of interest: character and the approach of the actor, production design, sound, a long piece on the fight on the skylift, and not least, a segment about how 21 year old model/actress Janice Man learned how to play the piano for her very affecting scenes with Chopin’s C Minor Nocturne Op. 48, No. 1. The featurette is presented in decent looking anamorphic widescreen standard definition.


     

 

Recommendation: 7

A seductive title that turns out to have nothing whatever to do with the story. Critics are generally in accord that the film is well acted with high production values, and that the mystery at the core of the film is compelling, but that the screenplay assumes the audience is asleep and needs to be hit over the head with plot points. I am in accord with this critique and also found that Roy Chow & Christine To couldn’t make up their mind if their story of the crime is basically ironic or a scam. Perhaps it’s just the translation and the fact that this movie makes the common mistake of entertaining too many endings one on top of the other. But comments made at the end by the female detective suggest a possibility that undermines the irony and parallel themes of the cop and his quarry that the writers took such pains to establish. All the same, the film is entertaining, well photographed and scored and recommended for fans of Nick Cheung and Simon Yam. I might add that Nightfall’s Kinson Tsang & Lai Chi-hung won a Golden Horse Award for Best Sound Effects. Recommended with caveats about the screenplay.


     


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

May 14, 2013

 

 

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