PTU ★★★★★

You ever watch a movie for the fourth time and suddenly a major plot point that had confused you every time before becomes blindingly obvious and you can't understand how you could have been so stupid before?

Well, I just this time realized that Eyeball is the name of the rival gang leader, not the assassin who kills Ponytail and now the end of this film, which I've loved for years without totally following, makes sense.

It's not Johnnie To's most perfect film, that would be THE MISSION or SPARROW. But it's his most complete portrait of the city, of the cops and gangsters who run it and of the dual nature of the bonds of loyalty that bound them all together. It's also his most stylized visually, not in terms of wild camera movements and editing (Wai Ka-fai is much looser in that respect than To is by himself) but in lighting and composition, the bright street lamps serving as spotlights against black space highlighting the main characters on the empty streets as if on a theatrical stage. Also, it's his Vietnam movie.

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