Nightfall (2012 film)
|Mandarin||Dà Zhuī Bǔ|
|Cantonese||Daai6 Zeoi1 Bou6|
|Directed by||Roy Chow|
|Produced by||Bill Kong
|Written by||Christine To|
|Music by||Umebayashi Shigeru|
|Editing by||Cheung Ka-fai|
|Studio||Sil-Metropole Organisation Ltd.
Edko Films Ltd.
|Running time||108 minutes|
|Box office||HK$17,729,513|
20 years ago, a 19-year-old Wong Yuen-yeung was convicted of murdering an 18-year-old Eva and was sentenced to a long prison term. Wong is now released on parole and he starts stalking a young pianist called Zoe. Zoe is the daughter of Han Tsui, a famous musician, and she resembles Eva in appearance. Han Tsui is very abusive and controlling towards Zoe, to the point of not allowing her to have any male friends, and he justifies his actions as "protecting" her from harm.
George Lam, a police inspector, is still unable to accept the fact that his wife had committed suicide many years ago. He occupies himself with work and neglects his daughter.
One day, Han Tsui is found dead near the beach with his face completely mashed up, and Lam and his team are assigned to investigate the incident. While searching for links to the victim, Lam inadvertently uncovers the murder case involving Wong and learns that Eva was actually Han Tsui's daughter. When he asks Zoe and Mrs Tsui about it, he is surprised to hear that the tragedy had been kept secret from Zoe all this while and that she never knew she had an elder sister who was murdered.
Lam tracks down Wong and questions the latter about the case but receives only frosty responses. The police are rather convinced that Wong is the murderer after finding out more about his background from people who knew him, and after he attacked Lam and Ying (Lam's colleague) on two separate occasions.
While the police are out on a manhunt for Wong, Lam carefully considers the entire case again and realises that Wong's behaviour appears to be for the purpose of drawing attention towards himself. Throughout that period of time, they have also visited the Tsuis a few times. Ying points out to Lam that Mrs Tsui is suspicious because every time they visited her, she is always busy cleaning the same patch of ground outside her house. They comb the area and discover traces of blood.
During interrogation, Mrs Tsui reveals the truth about Han Tsui's treatment of Zoe, and how she has remained silent all this while to protect her husband's reputation. More shockingly, she tells Lam that Zoe is, in fact, the illegitimate daughter of Eva and Eva's lover. Han Tsui had treated Eva in the same manner as he did to Zoe, and he had killed Eva in anger after discovering her secret affair. Eva's lover is none other than Wong, who had rushed to the scene of Eva's death after Han Tsui killed her, and was arrested on the spot. The police investigators strongly believed that Wong tried to rape Eva and then killed her, so they resorted to violent means to make him confess to the crime. Lam, who was still a young rookie then, had managed to catch a glimpse of the investigators beating up Wong in the interrogation room. Wong eventually succumbed to the torture and admitted to murdering Eva. During his time in prison, Wong attempted suicide by piercing his throat with a pencil but failed and became mute as a consequence. He was ostracised by the other prisoners and he once beat up four inmates who tried to harass him.
Han Tsui's death was actually an accident: He was hitting Zoe, who tried to defend herself by pushing him away, but he missed his step and fell off the balcony to his death. His dead body was taken away by Wong and was abandoned at the beach after Wong deliberately disfigured his face so that no one could recognise him. Lam comes to the conclusion that Wong's true intention in doing everything he did so far is actually to divert the police's attention away from Zoe and make them think that he is the murderer.
In the meantime, the police have tracked down Wong and cornered him on the rooftop of a high building. Wong manages to convey the words - "Have you ever given your daughter a piggyback ride?" - to Lam before throwing himself off the roof to his death. Later, Lam receives a message sent to him by Wong before his death, in which Wong said he was envious of Lam because the latter had the privilege of watching his own daughter grow up while he did not because he was in jail. Lam breaks down after reading Wong's message as he feels sorry for having neglected his daughter since his wife's death.
Towards the end of the film, Zoe goes to the police station to turn herself in, and is received by Lam, who says he expected her to do so. She asks Lam about the identity of the mysterious man who has been trying to protect her, and he shows her Wong's photos. In a post-credits scene, Lam and Ying have a brief discussion on the conclusion of the case, after which they go to Lam's house to celebrate.
The film was released in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Australia on 15 March 2012. Well Go USA Entertainment released it on DVD and Blu-ray in North America on 21 May 2013.
Wong Kwok-siu (黃國兆) of Apple Daily wrote: "The shadow cast by the Korean film Oldboy on Nightfall is very obvious. Both of them told stories of pursuing vengeance at all costs. In terms of technical details, this film is very professional, especially with Ardy Lam's cinematography. That was the motivating factor for me to finish watching the entire film."
Patrick Kong of Headline Daily wrote: "Christine To and Roy Chow had met viewers' expectations in terms of how the film concluded, and it was sufficiently convincing. Of course, experienced movie fans would have noticed that certain parts of the film were actually inspired by Galileo and Polanski's Chinatown."
Awards and nominations
Nick Cheung and Cheung Ka-fai were both nominated at the 49th Golden Horse Film Awards for the Best Leading Actor and Best Film Editing awards respectively. Kinson Tsang (曾景祥) and Lai Chi-hung (黎志雄) won the Best Sound Effect award.