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Critical Consensus: "Detective Dee" Is The Pick of the Week

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire September 1, 2011 at 2:49AM

Hark Tsui's "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" hits theaters this weekend, and it's the pick of the week, according to the folks polled on criticWIRE.
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Hark Tsui's "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" hits theaters this weekend, and it's the pick of the week, according to the folks polled on criticWIRE.

Following an exiled detective recruited to solve a series of mysterious deaths that threaten to delay the inauguration of Empress Wu, "Dee" is already a big box-office hit in China. The film played the festival circuit last year to wide acclaim. Released this Friday in New York, followed by a national rollout in 20 major cities, it’s a great bet for fans of the fantasy genre and Chinese film in general.

Four critics gave "Detective Dee" an average of B+ on the film's criticWIRE page. indieWIRE's own Eric Kohn gave the film a B, offering up these thoughts in his recent review:

Hark delivers a highly enjoyable alternative to Western blockbusters by simply keeping the narrative in flux with a series of well-executed sequences—a cinema of distraction, if you will. The opening title card sets the scene, concluding that “all hell was about to break loose.” In other words: Hold on to your seats.

More extensive takes on "Dee" and other films opening this weekend are all are linked below. Also offered is the top 10 criticWIRE scores for films already in theaters, which is currently topped by doc "Senna" for the third week running, Note that only films with three or more grades have their averages included.

iW Film Calendar & criticWIRE:
criticWIRE | Opening this week | Opening this month | All Films A - Z

criticWIRE: Films Opening This Week
NOTE: The averages listed here are current as of the publishing of this article. They are subject to change as new grades come in, and will be updated in next week's edition of this article.

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Love Crime (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

The Debt (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: TBD

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: TBD


criticWIRE: 10 Best Bets Already In Theaters

1. Senna (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

2. The Interrupters (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

3. Attack The Block (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

4. Mysteries of Lisbon (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

5. Project Nim (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

6. Circumstance (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

7. Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

8. Page One (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

9. Buck (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

10. Our Idiot Brother (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+


Previous Picks of the Week:
August 24: Maryam Keshavarz's "Circumstance"
August 17: Álex de la Iglesia's "The Last Circus"
August 10: Asif Kapadia's "Senna"
August 3: Raoul Ruiz's "Mysteries of Lisbon"
July 26: Steve James' "The Interrupters"
July 20: Mike Cahill's "Another Earth"
July 13: Errol Morris' "Tabloid"
July 6: James Marsh's "Project Nim"
June 29: Azazel Jacobs' "Terri"
June 22: Rodman Fletcher's "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop"
June 15: Andrew Rossi's "Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times"
June 8: Michael Winterbottom's "The Trip"
June 1: Richard Ayoade's "Submarine"
May 25: Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life"
May 18: Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris"
May 11: Lu Chaun's "City of Life and Death"
May 4: Koji Wakamatsu's "Caterpillar"
April 27: Clio Barnard's "The Arbor"
April 20: Denis Villeneuve's "Incendies"
April 13: Janus Metz's "Armadillo"
April 6: Kelly Reichardt's "Meek's Cutoff"
March 30: Michaelangelo Frammartino's "Le Quattro Volte"

This article is related to: In Theaters