Johnnie To's "Drug War" (9/24)

The French Connection meets The Wire — Screen International

“A masterpiece” — IndieWire

Once or twice a decade, a sweeping filmic export out of Hong Kong reminds us of just how taut, resourceful and downright thrilling (above almost all other branches of action cinema in the world) that country’s leading practitioners can be: Jackie Chan in the ‘80s, John Woo in the ‘90s, Infernal Affairs in the early ‘00s, and now, Johnnie To’s sensational Drug War — his first work ever filmed in mainland China. In this torrid, quadruple-crossing freight train of a procedural, a drug deal caught manufacturing meth (a crime punishable in China by execution) has nothing left to lose, and forms an unsteady bond with his police force captor, slipping in and out of the informant role to his devious cat-and-mouse advantage. Forget any surface notions of a mere gangland shoot-’em-up, for Drug War exudes the same visual panache and emotional whollop of top-shelf entries in the Friedkin or Scorsese canons. After prolifically cranking out solid, quirky HK actioners for over thirty years, To is finally worthily poised to cultivate a Stateside cult all his own — and we can’t think of a better way for him to achieve that breakout success than with this genre gem.
Dir. Johnnie To, 2013, DCP, 105 min.

Watch the trailer for “Drug War”!