Nightfall manages to fit an amazing number of genres into one film. Though the first twenty-minutes can be somewhat difficult to predict—or even to follow—due to this overflowing style of filmmaking, it is a testament to director Chow Hin Yeung’s ability to balance it all out into a spectacularly effective detective thriller; a mystery with some film noir, more than a little family melodrama, and a good dose of well choreographed action sequences.
The most extravagant of the action sequences opens the film and introduces us to Yuen-yeung Wong (Nick Cheung), though we aren’t given context for this sequence until far later in the film. The way the story unfolds allows the audience a brief period before being able to predict the ending, which may be a little too on-the-nose for anyone who watches a lot of mystery films or TV shows. Wong is released from prison, silently wandering the city and eating ice cream cones. The only thing the mute ex-con seems interested in is a master pianist and minor celebrity (Michael Wong), and his daughter (Janice Man).
When the pianist’s body is found brutally mutilated, Wong is the main suspect and Detective Lam (Simon Yam) is the driving force behind the investigation. The more that Lam investigates, the more complex he discovers the case to be. The story behind Wong’s reason for incarceration in the first place leads Detective Lam down a rabbit hole of secrets and cover-ups. During all of this Wong plays a game of chess with Lam, always staying one step ahead both mentally and physically, having spent 20 years in prison preparing for his tasks.
Despite its confusing beginning and predictable ending, Nightfall is an effective thriller with a great cast headed up by two great leads. The Blu-ray includes a making-of featurette and a trailer, though nothing beats the high definition presentation of the opening scene.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 6/10
Disc Features: 6/10