In the Mood for Love
Give me a God damn break. This is exactly the kind of movie that critics gush over, telling everyone in a position to be impressed that they simply must see it immediately because everything about the film is so astonishing. Mood, lighting, tone, music, emotion, what have you. How about a story? How about not keeping me sitting there for two hours tearing my hair out waiting for some small level of narrative drive? You can point a camera at a fucking orange for two-and-a-half hours for all I care, but if the orange doesn't get up and try to stop the Nazis from invading Poland, there's no story.
I don't care what director Wong Kar-Wai knows about photography. I don't care if his composition is good or his depth of field transcends dimensions. Barely anything happens in this entire movie. It's the story of neighbors Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung), who discover that their spouses have engaged in an affair with each other. What follows is the incredibly dull, tedious "story" of the two acting out their spouses' affair and falling in love in the process.
Frankly, if you thought the British had a hard time expressing their emotions, the mood in this film makes the Changing of the Guard look like Mardi Gras. And hey, I get that the pace of life in Southeast Asia is entirely different than the pace of life in the U.S. and that Wong Kar-Wai might have an entirely different take on what constitutes "change." Hey Wong, here's some change of perspective: I don't want to be a rice farmer. I don't want to know what it's like to get up and do the exact same thing day in and day out. You know what that is? Boring. Don't get me wrong -- rice farming is noble and difficult and worthy of respect. If you want to wax poetic on the nature of change, however, why don't you make some change and give me my money back.
Not only that, but the film ends in Cambodia and I happen to know enough about Cambodian history to know about Norodom Sihanouk's attempt to remain neutral during the Vietnam War and and his subsequent overthrow at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. I GET THE METAPHOR! However, getting something and enjoying it are two entirely different things.
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