Today: July 20, 2024

Mystery

Mystery lives up to its name as it gradually and stylishly unravels the secret and painful lives of its central characters, revealing sordid lies and utter betrayal at the core of this family’s story.

Opening with a horrific car accident that leaves a young girl lying dead in the middle of the road, this film pulls no punches from the off, launching immediately into a world of bleak and shocking reality. It’s steeped in neo-noir style, showing a dramatic event in the opening sequence and then plonking you into the mundane lives of a seemingly loving family as if nothing had happened. This isn’t the first time this technique has been used, so the audience is aware that there must be more than meets the eye within this happy family and you’re just waiting for the connection with the dead girl to be exposed.

Although not original in its dramatic or narrative conventions then, Mystery triumphs by virtue of its complete dedication to its story, its characters and, in particular, the actors portraying those characters. These are deeply enigmatic people, eliciting conflicting responses as their paths become increasingly and irreversibly entwined. The husband, Yongzhao, is especially hard to decipher as he seems to genuinely love his wife and child whilst simultaneously being a compulsive cheat. One scene involving a violent rape challenges even the hardiest of viewers not to squirm slightly but this only serves to pull you deeper into this ever-unraveling world.

This film sets its stall out as a murder mystery whodunit but it knowingly plays with its own themes and genre stereotype to deliver a far more powerful and insightful piece of modern cinema. Genuinely innovative and interesting cinematography combined with deeply believable performances make this a realistic and, at times, harrowing portrait of the brutal consequences of deceit and betrayal.

Previous Story

8 1/2

Next Story

Silent Night

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Longlegs

Following early screenings, Longlegs mania became something bigger than anyone could have predicted. After an eerie and ambiguous marketing campaign made up largely of short, cryptic teasers, hype was already pretty high

Inside No 9 Complete Collection Unboxing

Earlier this year, one of the finest television creations in the history of the medium came to a poignant conclusion after 9 impeccable seasons. Over 55 self-contained episodes, Inside No 9 made

A Bittersweet Life Unboxing

Taking a brief detour from horror, Second Sight Films have given their much-loved Limited Edition treatment to South Korean neo-noir thriller A Bittersweet Life (2005). Filmmaker Kim Jee-woon may jump wildly around

The Conversation Unboxing

Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece of paranoia The Conversation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and StudioCanal are marking the occasion with this utterly beautiful Limited Edition 4K UHD Blu-ray release that even

Halo Season Two Unboxing

While the Halo TV series continues to be controversial with longtime ‘fans’ of the franchise for petty reasons, this year’s explosive second season certainly marked an improvement over the first. With better
Go toTop