Thursday, December 02, 2004

SEE: In The Mood for Love (2000)

Don't be fooled by the frivolous title. This ain't your typical romantic comedy. It doesn't come anywhere that genre.

Damn slow, but absolutely mesmerizing.

This is art in motion. Every scene is beautifully composed and executed. Director Wong Kar-Wai is a genius. Hate to use the word "visionary," but this man clearly is optically gifted. Almost every scene, I'm thinking, How did he think of that? What movies is this man watching so I can watch them too and rip off ideas? His films are highly articistic without being pretentiously so. It's subtle, avoiding being one of those in-your-face look-at-me ain't-I-cool artsy-fartsy movies. Also, after seeing this film, I can see it's one of the sources that probably inspired Quentin Tarantino, who's a WKW fan, to film so many "feet scenes" in Kill Bill.

So what's this flick about anyway?

Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan are next door neighbors. They discover that their respective frequently absent spouses are involved in an affair. They themselves vow not to be like their unfaithful spouses despite the bond develops between them.

Tony Leung, the hottest man on earth, and beautiful Maggie Cheung play the betrayed spouses. Tony Leung won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his role. And the man deserved it. He's a very skilled actor with a keen ability to represent his characters not so much by what he says but the emotions that cross his grossly beautiful face.

The ironic thing about this film, as in other Wong Kar-Wai films I've seen, is that the spurned lovers are extremely good-looking people, making you wonder who is crazy/dumb enough to reject them for someone else? It's hard to be beautiful, I guess, is WKW's message.

There's a beautiful tension between Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan who are slowly but surely falling in love. Much unspoken heartfelt emotion being exchanged as they try their darn hardest to be high and mighty and not fall into the same adulterous misconduct of their cheating spouses. They stay put in their loneliness all the while only at arm's length of each other, making it exasperating for the viewer who's silently yelling at them, Just jump in bed and get it over with!

::5 stars::