2019 / 109m - Hong Kong
Thriller, Mystery
Legally Declared Dead poster


January 05, 2021


It's not that often that you see a Hong Kong adaptation of a Japanese manga, Legally Declared Dead is a good illustration of why that isn't really a perfect match. While there's a lot to like here, the somewhat fleeting and rushed style that characterizes Hong Kong cinema doesn't seem to be doing the source material justice (though I'm not personally familiar with it).

Shun is an insurance broker who is sent to Tak's home to follow up his case. Once there he discovers the body of Tak's grandson, hanging from the ceiling. Shun is a good-natured and trusting man, but he suspects Tak of setting up his grandson's death. Meanwhile, Shun's own troubled past is starting to resurface.

The cinematography is beautiful and both Karena Lam and Anthony Wong put in tremendous performances. Carlos Chan can't really convince as the lead though and the direction feels a bit too rushed. Though the film is quite long, it could've done with a little less fluff and a tighter focus on the parts that mattered. An interesting film, but a bit too flawed to be a true masterpiece.