Review: The Devotion of Suspect X

Verdict: Director Alec Su’s second attempt is an improvement from his first and benefits from a much better story, stunning cinematography, but the screenplay is still choppy and leaves more to be desired.

The brilliant story of The Devotion of Suspect X is recaptured for the Chinese audience in director Alec Su’s second film. Aided by a much superior story, a better cast, and more fitting cinematography, Alec Su unfortunately is handicapped by his poor control of the film.

The suspense/detective tale with a twist features Zhang Luyi as Shi Hong, a genius and a loner who tries to help his neighbor Chen Jing (Ruby Lin) to cover up her murder of her ex-husband. Unfortunately for the pair, their crime caught the eye of Tang Chuan (Wang Kai), a physicist and Shi Hong’s best friend in high school. Tang Chuan is called upon to help detective Luo Miao (Ye Zuxin) to solve the murder, but along the way gets caught in the crime itself.

The story is compelling by itself, and Alec Su managed to make it remain that, but nothing more.  You can tell he really tries to delve deeper, but fell mostly flat. In one scene, he shot an American Beauty-styled segment of a lost leaf in an attempt to make some deep metaphor that simply added nothing to the story.

Zhang Luyi was convincing as a loner, but not so much as the other roles his character plays – an ordinary middle school teacher, a math genius, and occasionally  a total creep. Wang Kai looked great in all the three-piece suits and shone through in a few scenes, but I think the choice to make Tang Chuan a part of the police academy was unfortunate, as it was perhaps the angle with the most potential –  what happens when emotions and justice comes in conflict with the pursuit of the truth?

Overall, the film is a decent second project from Alec Su, but he still has a long way to go.

The film is currently airing in the U.S.

8 thoughts on “Review: The Devotion of Suspect X

  1. i just saw the movie…couldnt agree more with your review. For a film thats touting Wang Kai as main role, there simply isnt enough…Wang kai.

    The movie didnt allow enough character progression for Tang Chuan (Played by Wang Kai). The time spent on shooting the floating leaf should be given to Tang Chuan instead. I mean the thought process in which he figures out the truth, thats really juicy angle thats left largely unexplored. Its pity that they didnt let him stretch his acting talents….afterall he’s capable of so much more…

    Other than that, love the cinematography although it becomes a bit draggy when the movie tries to be overly poetic, tone and colors of the movie are nice, the setting of locations is nice, the styling is good…sighhh..

  2. Does each C film usually only show in local theaters for a week in the U.S.? I was busy the first week it showed.By the 2nd weekend, April 8th, it has already disappeared from my city. There was only 1 cinema showing it in my city. So I missed the movie. It’s hard to watch the first week, because there were not any movie reviews yet 9 days ago.

    • It’s a week-by-week decision. The individual theaters decide each Monday on the screenings for Thursday – next Wednesday. The Devotion of Suspect X actually did pretty well the first weekend and had a net increase of screenings (I believe seven locations added it and three removed it). Must’ve not done well where you are.

  3. I saw this movie last week – a week ago? and agree with it so much. The actors were great; the film didn’t really use them very well…

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