The Netflix Report

Movie reviews from my Netflix queue. Highly personal and opinionated!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

In The Mood For Love

Okay, I finally finished off my Wong Kar Wei trilogy with this, the middle movie of the set. This one introduces Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) and Su Li-Zhen (Maggie Cheung) as neighbors who discover their spouses are having an affair with each other. The two develop a friendship that turns to unrequited longing.

The movie shares many themes and stylistic points with the other two (Days of Being Wild and 2046). There is longing and emotional suppression. The ache of memories and love that might have been.

This is a much more technically advanced and assured directing effort than the film from a decade earlier, as it should be. But having seen 2046, I label In The Mood For Love strictly a warm-up to what he would accomplish with that next feature. He is trying out many of the camera shots, lighting, and sound aspects he would perfect in 2046. There is the naked streetlight in the rain. The shot down the narrow hallway. The classical music mixed with popular songs from many languages and cultures (there is something a little weird about watching a Chinese film with English subtitles as Nat King Cole sings in Spanish on the soundtrack).

Wong also seems to have a fixation with shots of clinging cheongsam dresses on the lovely backside of Maggie Cheung, as he would again with Zhang Ziyi in 2046 (not that I blame him, but it gets laughable after a while).

This is a fairly short 97 minutes, but the story is SO linear and SO deliberately paced that it feels much longer. As with his other films, I felt a desire for an outside editor who could argue with Wong over the necessity of some of his scenes.

There is nothing here to concern parents other than the overall theme of marital infidelity.

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