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黑白森林 (2003)
Colour of the Truth

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Chinoco
Date: 08/29/2006
Summary: Good action film with some plot issues

Colour of the Truth is about a young inspector named Cola (Raymond Wong). His father, also a cop (Lau Ching-Wan), was mysteriously killed in an altercation with another officer (Anthony Wong) and a Triad leader (Francis Ng) when he was a child. Years later upon joining the force, he is ultimately asigned to Anthony Wong’s department. Added to the mix is a drug deal gone bad, leaving the police protecting one gang leader from an assassin. Also Francis Ng’s son (Jordan Chan) is seeking revenge for his father’s death and seeks out Cola for assistance. After getting to know his commanding officer, Cola comes to realize that Wong is actually a good cop as well as an honorable guy. Will he forgive him, follow in his footsteps and seek the real truth, or chose a life of crime?

This is a good movie, but there are some flaws in it. It’s obvious almost from the start that officer Cola is a good person, and that he’s not going to commit cold blooded murder. However the film continues to go back to that possibility several times. Also I agree with some of the other reviews in that Jordan Chan’s character’s motivations make no sense at all. This movie must also lead the industry in scenes where one character sneaks up on another, and sticks a gun to the persons head completely unseen. One instance in which a gang member sneaks up on Chapman To’s character who is on duty watching screens monitoring every room is especially laughable. Another problem I had with the movie is that Raymond Wong looks like he is sleep-walking through his role- and he is supposed to be the lead!

Having said all that, I did enjoy this movie. My favorite scene by far is the incredible opening with Anthony Wong, Lau Ching-Wan, and Francis Ng. That scene alone is worth watching this movie, and it would have been much better had LCW and Francis been in the entire film. Another great scene features Anthony Wong caring for his wheelchair bound British father. Great stuff and Wong easily steals the show for the entire picture.

All in all, it’s good movie. Good story and action scenes, but several plot holes prevent it from being great.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 06/18/2006
Summary: Style Over Substance

Don't be fooled by COTT's stylish good looks, there's very little substance if you stop to think about the story for a minute. It's like a sumptuous, six-course banquet which, after you're done gobbling up the last bite, you suddenly realize was cleverly disguised cotton-candy.

This movie looks great, the acting is good (Anthony Wong put in his usual strong performance, though Jordon Chan was not convincing as the mastermind), I even liked the music. Maybe I'm missing something, but the plot had some major holes. I can't talk about the ending without giving away a major spoiler, but Jordan Chan's character's actions didn't make sense to me - which as a result knocked the credibility out of the entire plot.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/08/2006
Summary: 9/10 - excellent crime thriller

I thought that COLOUR OF THE TRUTH was an excellent film - definitely amongst the best HK films of 2003 (along with MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK and RUNNING ON KARMA). In fact it is a great film for any year - I'd rank it right up there with THE MISSION as a smart, stylish and literate thriller.

It's true that it borrows elements from The Mission, Running Out Of Time, Time And Tide and maybe Infernal Affairs, but without ever feeling derivative or contrived. I thought the script was very well crafted, weaving many elements together and pulling rabbits (or were they surprises?) out of its hat on multiple occasions. Does anybody here really believe Wong Jing had anything to do with writing or directing it? He is a man of many surprises, but nothing about the film betrays his involvement at any level.

I hope that Hong Kong can produce more films of this calibre - it's a niche that still seems to be a Hong Kong exclusive, now that two-fisted gunplay and wirework are being done everywhere (I was quite amazed to see that wirework has even penetrated Bollywood dance scenes in Koi Mil Gaya!).

I couldn't help noticing that Raymond Wong has got more than a touch of Leslie Cheung c. A BETTER TOMORROW about him in this film... I definitely underestimated his potential as an actor prior to this film.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 04/23/2004
Summary: good movie

This is an amazing piece of filmmaking. Wong Jing's writing is top notch here; he is such a good storyteller. The cinematography by Edmond Fung Yuen-Man is beautiful. Ther is not a single bad performance from this super fine cast. Anthony Wong proves again that he is the best actor in Hong Kong. Pinky Cheung is great in her small role as Lau's grieving wife. Terence Yin plays another nasty bad guy, something he has become very good at. One of the best character actors working these days, look for Chapman To as one of Anthony Wong's police detail.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 01/01/2004
Summary: One of the better movies of the year

Inevitably this movie is compared to INFERNAL AFFAIRS as it was released not so long afterwards. Comparing these movies together is unfair on COTT. COTT in it's own right is a good movie.

An interesting plot keeps the viewer intrigued till the end but the slow pace is the only critism of this movie.

All actors play their roles well, Anthony Wong is the standout here, which is not suprising. Chapman To plays a Nick Cheung type of character for some comic relief. Raymond Wong, looks emotionless at time. Seein PAtrick Tse (Father of Nicolas) paying a bad guy is unusual especially if you are watching the new SHAW BROTHER releases where he plays a super cool good guy. Seein him as a bad guy is a little difficult for me.

Worth watching if you can stand the slow pace but the end result is worth it


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: YutGouHoYun
Date: 09/20/2003
Summary: Another typical Wong Jing film

This is another classic example of what the masterful Wong Jing is capable of. Wong Jing who can do it all, has done yet another one of his over the top violent cop drama. I find i have to disagree with mrblue again. As how he stated that there is no gratuitous violence. There is a shootout every 10 minutes and enough blood and gore to satisfy anyone's bloodlust. But it is true to Wong Jing's form, for example his classic 1997 cop drama "We're No Bad Guys" is just as bloody.

COTT is a excellent police drama for yearning detective sleuth gum shoe private eye. Or whatever you wanna be called. The plot is good with enough twists to keep you on your toes as well as well as screaming "NOT ANOTHER METAL GEAR SOLID 2!!"

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/18/2003

What's this? A Wong Jing movie that doesn't rely on boobs or blood as its' selling point? You've gotta be kidding! Seriously, though, Colour of the Truth is a damn rock-solid crime drama. Yeah, it does have some of that Wong Jing flavor (to say that last year's hit Infernal Affairs was an inspiration for this movie is an understatement), but it's one of the best movies that I've seen from anywhere this year. It's loads better than a lot of the so-called "blockbusters" stinking up screens at this moment in time.

The movie opens with a rooftop shootout between a cop (Anthony Wong), a Triad (Francis Ng) and an undercover (Lau Ching-Wan), with Anthony ending up being the last man standing. Fast-forward fifteen years, and now Lau's son (Raymond Wong) is a rising detective under Anthony's wing, and Francis' son (Jordan Chan) is a young Triad hell-bent on revenge. During an operation when Anthony and Raymond are protecting a top gangster (Patrick Tse), the ghosts of the past come to haunt Anthony and set the stage for a final showdown.

Yes, the plot does hold some similarties to Infernal Affairs, but, come on, the whole "undercover cops versus the Triads" scheme is about as common to HK movies as the "mis-matched buddy cops" are to US action films. I will grant that the way the plot unfolds does get a bit muddled at times, but Wong Jing -- despite what his detractors might say -- can write good scripts and things gel together nicely at the end. Even when matters get a bit confusing, the film's visual style (through excellent editing by co-director Marco Mak) and bits of classic Wong Jing ultra-violence help keep things going, especially when bolstered by the top-notch acting.

Francis Ng and Lau Ching-Wan (as could be expected) are flawless in their painfully small roles, but it's Anthony Wong's work which really holds Colour of the Truth together. I am so glad that he actually seems to be trying nowadays, instead of just phoning in his roles as has been the case for much of his work the past few years (perhaps not coincidentally, he was also great in Infernal Affairs -- maybe he's found his new niche as the slightly dirty cop in HK movies). Other standouts include Raymond Wong, who actually makes a likeable character out of a standard "pretty boy" role and Patrick Tse, who demonstrates why he was condisidered such a bad-ass back in the day. Hell, even Chapman To does a good job, bringing some comic relief without being annoying.

Despite some minor problems, Colour of the Truth is a fine movie that even the biggest Wong Jing haters will dig if they're willing to relax their standards a bit. True, it's no Citizen Kane or anything like that, but it's a really good movie in its' own right. Even though there's no gratuitous nudity or violence, Colour of the Truth will likely be one of the most exciting times you'll have watching a movie this year.

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 09/04/2003
Summary: One of This Year's Best Flicks

Wong Jing has written, produced and directed a stunningly entertaining movie in "Colour of the Truth." Wong's latest is a synthesis of thematic elements from such works as "So Close," "Infernal Affairs," "The Killer" and a myriad of other films. Wong Jing has always been able to adapt topical fads and rework them in his own image, so to speak. When comedies were the craze, he'd dash off a few. Now that serious crime drama has returned, Wong has done the same with this genre. What sets "Colour of the Truth" apart from other Wong Jing films is the complete lack of Wong Jong-like slap-dash production values. With the help of Marco Mak, Wong has done the unthinkable; he's made an excellent film that may be his best effort to date.

"Colour of the Truth" follows Raymond Wong's journey, from childhood to the present day, to avenge the murder of his father. Anthony Wong becomes Raymond's supervisor on the police force. Along the way, many paths are trod in the ever-winding road to what really happened on the fateful night that took Raymond's father, and his triad-associate's life (cameos played by Lau Ching Wan and Francis Ng as 7Up and Blind, respectively). The police force is on the trail of Patrick Tse and his Vietnamese dealer connections. They are forced to guard Tse as a leading witness. Blind's own son, in the form of Jordan Chan, pops up as the monkey wrench in the plot. Whatever you may surmise is thrown for a loop as each character undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts in the denouement.

The story is well crafted in its maze-like way of keeping the viewer guessing or put in dismay as nothing is what it seems. Wong Jing and Marco Mak's direction is fluid. They do a great job with the entire cast, with special emphasis on the manic Chapman To, who underplays his role to great effect. There are many fresh young faces along with the veteran actors. The blend is very refreshing. Having Lau and Ng appear at the onset set the serious tone needed for the movie. The only sag was Raymond Wong's lack of range. He held his own but was overshadowed by compelling performances of Anthony Wong and Patrick Tse.

Lee Tat Chiu, as the action choreographer, did a great job with the action set pieces. They were a joy to behold, flowing hand-in-hand with the drama to form one fine and dandy flick. You may be shocked into disbelief that this engaging and highly entertaining movie was from the crass mind of one of Hong Kong's most notorious filmmakers. "Colour of the Truth" will make you take notice of Wong Jing in a new and exciting light.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 08/17/2003

COTT is a very stylish thriller that at times feels a little derivative of Infernal Affairs and in the end falls apart because of an underdeveloped script. Nevertheless, it's one of the more enjoyable HK films I've seen lately, and I would definitely encourage people to seek this one out.

The premise (featuring cameos by Lau Ching Wan and Francis Ng) is interesting: Three people on rooftop, shots are fired, two of them die and only police inspector Anthony Wong (in another strong performance) is left standing at the end. Did he kill both of them? What really happened?

Cut to a few years later, and Lau Ching Wan's son (played by Raymond Wong) has been assigned to Anthony Wong's unit. Having grown up believing that Wong murdered his father, there's lots of tension and some interesting character interaction. Unfortunately, this is where the film begins to fall apart - instead of developing this angle, it is soon dropped in favour of a crime plot involving Patrick Tse and Terence Yin (who once again shines as a truly repulsive villain). And then this angle merges with a rather implausible revenge scheme involving Jordan Chan. Lots of red herrings are dished out, and by the time the final showdown rolls around, the viewer hardly cares anymore, and the big revelation about the rooftop mystery at the end seems almost anticlimactic (and doesn't make much sense).

On the plus side, there's some very stylish cinematography, from the opening shots featuring an aerial view of a night market in Mongkok, to a night vision shootout in a warehouse. And Gillian Chung even wields a gun!

The film was codirected by Wong Jing and Marco Mak, and I suspect we have the latter to thank for the fact the film remains watchable.

In the end, this could have been a great movie. All the elements were there, but unfortunately, they don't quite come together. Still, it's an enjoyable movie with good production values, a great soundtrack and some convincing performances.