Slow-boiling Hong Kong thriller about two candidates competing to be the new head of a triad society. Simon Yam's the more businesslike of the two; Tony Leung Ka Fai's the flashy gangster prepared to split the crime family up if the "uncles" won't put him in charge.
Unusually for a Hong Kong triad thriller, Johnny To concentrates on the political behind-the-scenes arguments rather than the bloodthirsty shootouts - they're still there, but this is a much more talky affair than you might expect.
With the two splitting the family, the old boys decide to retrieve the triad's symbolic dragon head totem from its hiding place over the border in China - whoever's got it is in charge.
Some great scenes where the cops have chucked everyone in jail together, and told them to sort out the dispute, a cold twist towards the end (setting up the sequel) and a nice sense of style make up for some of the scenes where you're not quite sure who's trying to run over who on who's behalf. It's also apparently the first time actual triad rituals have been shown on film. Bit like the masons, with more joss stick and less stupid trouser action. Great theme music too.
Johnny To's likely to be the next HK director to break through in the west - films like Running On Karma and PTU have been big hits in Asia - Election won Best Film at the HK Film Awards this year, and the sequel's already out and doing well in HK.