Advertisement

Review: Stylish Taiwanese neo-noir ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’ lacks pep

Review: Stylish Taiwanese neo-noir ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’ lacks pep
Mason Lee, left, and Kaiser Chuang in the movie "Who Killed Cock Robin?" (Cheng Cheng Films)

Like a thoughtful fusion of Brian De Palma and Asian filmmakers Johnnie To and Lee Chang-dong, the arty Taiwanese suspense picture “Who Killed Cock Robin?” plays around with themes of voyeurism and unreliable memories, in the context of a stylish neo-noir. The story ultimately lacks the satisfying snap of the best crime thrillers, but director Cheng Wei-hao does give the film a great look and mood — the visual equivalent of a deep contusion.

The movie gets off to a grabby start. Kaiser Chuang plays charming muckraking reporter Wang Yi-chi, who has trouble with his used car, then learns from his mechanic that the vehicle was involved in a scandalous hit-and-run nine years ago. Even stranger? Wang witnessed that accident, and tried — with little success — to report the story back then.

Advertisement

Concerned he’s being set up, Wang re-investigates the case. “Who Killed Cock Robin” then keeps circling back to the original incident, from different perspectives. Meanwhile, the hero begins having suspicions about a disturbingly icy cop, memorably played by Mason Lee.

The coincidences pile up fast, in what initially seems like a story about a larger conspiracy, but eventually becomes just one long example of cheap plotting shortcuts. Still, while it’s disappointing as a mystery, “Who Killed Cock Robin” is effective as the study of a compulsively nosy man who follows his hunches whenever they lead, into some dark places.

-------------

“Who Killed Cock Robin?”

In Mandarin and Taiwanese with English subtitles

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 58 minutes.

------------

Advertisement
Advertisement