Sometimes you start watching a film and you just know there's a big twist ending coming. And you're pretty sure you've figured out what it is. And then the twist comes and it's totally not what you were expecting. That's awesome! And Nightfall (2012) is just such a film.
The great Nick Cheung plays an ex-con named Wang (incorrectly listed as Wong on IMDb, plus the HK disk subs I saw had Yang -- go figure) who's just done 20 years for a rape/murder he may or may not have committed. In fact, finding out whether he did it or not is one of the main objectives of the film. Then there's the brutal murder of a famous symphony conductor right after our mystery man (who hates the conductor for some reason) gets out of the joint. This comes to the attention of Detective Lam (Simon Yam), a depressed widower who lives for his job. He's going to get to the bottom of things, and the whole backstory gradually unfolds, taking us deeper and deeper until we reach the devastating denouement.
Extra points for Cheung and Yam -- seeing these guys go up against each other is pure Hong Kong film bliss. Yam is getting up there in years (he runs slowly and painfully in chase scenes), but he's still got it. Readers of this blog may have noticed I mistakenly called him "Simon Lam" a few times (I've since gone back and fixed that). I apologize; I must have been thinking of his unforgettable performance as the title character in the notorious Category III nasty Dr. Lamb (reviewed in Asia Shock).
If you like HK film, police procedurals, mysteries and don't mind a bit of ultraviolence (the opening scene is fairly brutal), you can't go wrong with Nightfall, a stylized and truly absorbing piece of film-making.