August 22, 2023
by Carla Hay
Directed by Cheang Pou-soi
Cantonese with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in Hong Kong, the dramatic film “Mad Fate” has an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: A fortune teller becomes obsessed with tracking a young man who is a serial killer.
Culture Audience: “Mad Fate” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching an artsy pyschological thriller.
“Mad Fate” is about a cat-and-mouse chase between a fortune teller and a serial killer. This frequently bizarre and psychedelic-looking murder mystery isn’t for everyone, but there’s enough to hold viewer interest until the very end. It’s the type of movie that requires a viewer’s full attention because some important details might be missed if a viewer is distracted by other things while watching the movie.
Directed by Cheang Pou-soi and written by Yau Nai-hoi and Melvin Li, “Mad Fate” had its world premiere at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival. The movie begins by showing a fortune teller called The Master (played by Gordon Lam) doing a ritual in a graveyard. The Master’s specialty is telling his customers that he can help change their destiny. It’s implied that The Master dabbles in the dark arts.
The Master soon finds out about a man in his 20s named Siu-tung (played by Lokman Yeung), who has developed a fascination for becoming a serial killer. The majority of the film s about The Master trying to track down Siu-tung before any killings happen to see if he can change the destiny of the intended victims.
“Mad Fate” has a lot of suspense but the movie also touches on serious issues such as mental illness and criminal justice. Is The Master a vigilante, or is he a well-meaning citizen? If Siu-tung is captured, should be be in prison or a psychiatric facility? “Mad Fate,” through riveting but somewhat convoluted direction, leaves it up to viewers to decide.
Illume Films released “Mad Fate” in select U.S. cinemas on August 11, 2023.