Vanguard

Interchange

Dain Iskandar Said

Interchange 01

A shell-shocked forensics photographer is drawn into a supernatural murder mystery that reveals Kuala Lampur’s underworld of ancient magic and sinister ritual.

Malay writer-director Dain Iskandar Said's follow-up to his masterful action drama Bunohan: Return to Murder is a smouldering thriller that merges elements of classic detective fiction with Southeast Asian folklore.

Traumatized after having borne witness to a weird and horrifying murder, forensic photographer Adam (Iedil Putra) has become a recluse. But another murder with eerie resemblances to that one has just taken place, and Detective Man (Shaheizy Sam) thinks that Adam may unwittingly have access to some answers. Photographs were found at the new crime scene, images in which Adam's neighbour, Iva (Prisia Nasution), appears — but the pictures seem to have been taken many years before Iva was even born. Despite his resistance, Adam accompanies Man on an investigation that draws them both into Kuala Lumpur's underworld of ancient magic and sinister ritual.

The story was inspired by century-old photos of Borneo tribal women bathing in a river, trying to cleanse themselves of the contaminating effects of being photographed by European explorers, and the film remains true to its source in a number of ways.

Interchange's darkly seductive intermingling of the modern and the supernatural, of film noir and black magic, loosely recalls Alan Parker's cult film Angel Heart. But its rich understanding of regional mythology makes the film something utterly sui generis. It hovers in a liminal space between past and present, killer and victim, camera and subject, and negative and positive, reminding us that not everything in our world can be contained within the tidy conceptual confines of technology and civilization.

GIOVANNA FULVI

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