The investigation of a bizarre factory murder forces Detective Zhang into a shootout in a barbershop from which he escapes with his life but is unable to continue working as a cop. On the inside, however, he never stops being a detective, so it’s no surprise that five years later he decides to investigate a conspicuously similar case on his own. All clues point to a femme fatale working at a small dry cleaners, but Zhang falls for the suspicious woman, thereby threatening the investigation. Designed with a consuming noir atmosphere of lowlife movie theaters and ramshackle streets, the film presents distinctive characters in an unrelenting game of dangerous liaisons. At the same time, this intriguing genre contribution allows itself to comment on the situation in contemporary China. The director is adept at both witty condensation and at holding aloof from the fatalistic shadings of a film which mediates an exceptionally rich experience. His influences can be seen in both Alfred Hitchcock style classics and traditional Hong Kong fare.