Over the course of one night, a team of cops frantically search for their colleague's missing gun. Two years in the making, Johnnie To’s police thriller PTU focuses on just a single night’s action. Scruffy police sergeant Lo (Lam Suet) stumbles into a gangland mess when he visits a restaurant early in the evening.
Two years in the making, Johnnie To’s police thriller PTU focuses on just a single night’s action.
Scruffy police sergeant Lo (Lam Suet) stumbles into a gangland mess when he visits a restaurant early in the evening. After riling young gangsters in the diner, Lo is baited into an alleyway for a beating. Later, when Lo wakes up on the ground, he finds his gun is missing. PTU (Police Tactical Unit) teams led by Mike Ho (Simon Yam) and Kat (Maggie Siu) arrive and Ho’s group picks up the trail to help get back the gun. They’ve got until dawn to find the weapon so Lo won’t need to file a report in the morning for losing it. Back in the restaurant, meanwhile, the leader of thugs is killed, setting the scene for a gang war. Soon, Lo’s need to get back the lost gun becomes more urgent to prevent someone using it in the ensuing battles. But Lo’s interest in the murder’s aftermath and the PTU team’s suspicious behaviour attract the attention of CID officer Leigh Cheng (Ruby Wong), who applies extra pressure as the clock keeps ticking through the night. PTU rarely strays from its themes of police protecting their comrades in uniform and fluidly adapting to situations to meet their crime fighting aims, even with lively black humour and comment on fate making appearances in the script too. Action is both minimalist and drawn out, gradually setting up a series of events, dead ends and coincidences that escalate as PTU’s plot comes to a boil. As scenes slowly move though a series of near-deserted late-night locations, consistent spotlighting keeps attention squarely on the protagonists for a carefully staged atmosphere. To relies on a fine mix of actors on the police teams and perfectly casts Lam Suet in his highest-profile central role do date, stumbling through PTU’s bizarre nighttime encounters with aplomb.
Thanks to Far East Film Festival
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