Cross is an interesting film for many reasons, but ultimately falls short of its intended goal of surprising the audience with story twists. At least surprising them in a way that’s rewarding. Sadly, while reading the credits it became clear to me that there may have been some hiccups in the production of this film that ended up hurting the final product and making the story a mess. The movie starts off okay. Our main character Lee Leung played by Simon Yam takes a long journey to a police station and turns himself in for murder. He hands over evidence against himself and this kicks off the story. In his confession he tells his story… mostly. Its broken up in chunks, but the first chunk is that his wife killed herself rather than dying of Leukemia. This of course got him thinking about suicide and then after hanging around on a suicide message board he decides that god has sent him a message and that message is to kill those about to take their lives via suicide to save their souls.
Which is an interesting premise and even more so as Leung continues to tell how he killed people and more importantly how he picked them. But there’s an angle. There’s always an angle. The detective assigned to the case brings in a criminal psychologist who begins breaking down the events and getting into the Leung’s head. At the same time Leung is visited by a young lawyer who at one point tells him ahead of the police, that one of the women he killed was a sex worker and didn’t actually want to commit suicide though he helped her do so.
At this point we have an interesting story and it gets more interesting as the police, at the advice of the psychologist, bring in the owner of the suicide website and wouldn’t you know it… he has the same lawyer.
There’s an interesting break at this point in the film. Our lawyer and webmaster are released and as they walk away they turn and look at the cop and psychologist in a very telling manner. It’s at this point that the movie shifts gears and destroys all the buildup we just watched. In reality it feels as if they had some footage for a script that wasn’t complete. Then they changed the direction/ending and couldn’t reshoot so they kept both halves. There’s even some indication in the credits as they very specifically state (2011) and (2012) for directors and writers.
Now in order to explain that previous statement I’m going to spoil the movie and I do this because it must be explained. It took me a bit to figure it out myself which is why I think something happened during the production that altered the course of this film.
The ending is this: Our main character has been manipulated, but rather than it being the lawyer like you think it’s going to be… well actually it is the lawyer. The problem is, when the film goes to reveal how the lawyer did it, which is the last half of the movie; they cast a third person for the same role. The character of Yip Wing Woo has a younger version, an ego version and a glasses version and there’s no reasoning for these two adult versions. Hell at one point they actually show “glasses” manipulating Leung behind a computer and then continue to show the rest of the manipulation from “ego’s” perspective. Whatever happened during production screwed this movie.
Aside from never doing anything visually to show these two versions that I suppose could be a Tyler Durden-esq plot device, is the fact that “ego” has a very distinguished mark on his face. You basically end the movie wondering who this third character is and how they fit into the story. Had they done more visually to show that they were supposed to be the same person then it may have worked, but instead they show them with the same mother and then not really. In fact, the mother didn’t make much sense either.
Aside from this weird casting problem that basically breaks the entire ending and twist of the movie, there’s the pacing of the film. Again, it’s really two halves of a movie and so the film hangs out in the strangest places. We spend a ton of time with the psychologist as he lives in Leung’s house and even manages to figure out how to use his equipment to make custom glasses. It’s obvious that a lot of time was put into the set, but we also see it used plenty later on. In the end it’s really hard to make sense of a lot of what’s happening which forces you to pay closer and closer attention. So close that when the ending hits you’ve paid too much attention and the movie no longer makes any sense.
The performances aren’t bad, the visuals were actually pretty good and had the story made more sense or been pieced together better this actually could have been an interesting film. As it stands though, it’s really hard to recommend it unless you just love Hong Kong cinema or that premise that’s very enticing, has worked its hooks into you. Hell, maybe knowing the ending will actually free you from paying attention so much so that you can enjoy the film. As for me, well I’ll always wonder why there was a slow-motion scene of a lawyer and webmaster walking down a long flight of stairs and pausing to look back at a detective and psychologist.
Cross Distributor: WellGoUSA Price: $24.98 Release Date: 6/23/15