With the brilliant Vietnamese summer as a setting Vertical Ray of the Sun is beautiful from beginning to end. The plot centres around three sisters, two of whom are happily married (or so ... See full summary »
Tran Anh Hung
Tran Nu Yên-Khê,
Nhu Quynh Nguyen,
Up-and-coming sports reporter rescues a homeless man ("Champ") only to discover that he is, in fact, a boxing legend believed to have passed away. What begins as an opportunity to resurrect Champ's story and escape the shadow of his father's success becomes a personal journey as the ambitious reporter reexamines his own life and his relationship with his family.
Samuel L. Jackson,
A little girl, Mui, went to a house as a new servant. The mother still mourns the death of her daughter, who would have been Mui's age. In her mind she treated Mui as her daughter. 10 years... See full summary »
Tran Anh Hung
Tran Nu Yên-Khê,
Man San Lu,
Thi Loc Truong
Ex-Los Angeles cop turned private eye Kline travels to Hong Kong in search of Shitao, the missing son of a powerful pharmaceutical conglomerate boss. Enlisting Meng Zi a friend and a former colleague now working for the Hong Kong Police, Kline follows a faint trail left by the ethereal Shitao. The path leads to local gangster Su Dongpo and his beautiful, drug addicted girlfriend Lili. But Kline is distracted from his search, haunted by memories of the serial killer Hasford whose 'body of work' was the reason Kline quit the police force. Will Kline once again need to lose his mind to find his latest quarry? Written by
Here's my 2 cents, and I rarely log in to IMDb to actually write anything, I usually just read the threads. I saw this film at the Pusan International Film Festival, and while I feel lucky to have seen it debut there, walked away with mixed feelings. "Rain" is a thoroughly unconventional film, which is fine. Unconventional is not for everyone, so that is not where the film falls short. Where it fails is in the lack of cohesiveness and not feeling like a finished product.
To answer one of the thread questions - yes, Shawn Yue's English is absolutely horrible. He just felt very uncomfortable and awkward. The rest of the cast was not bad, it's clear that English is not their first language, but it's bearable. Lee Byung Hun's is very good actually, and he's able to emote and act very well despite his lack of fluency.
Much of the acting is good - it's not excellent, but it is good. The cinematography is effective, and there's a lot of atmosphere as well as camera work that lends itself to the characters well. The POV is always very interesting and begs something of the viewer, whether it's a desire to see what is just off screen, or how the environment connects with the characters, or even how the lines running on screen draw comparisons to both themes occurring and characters state of mind. Particularly, there is something very interesting the vertical nature of HK, and the way it is captured on camera, and the more natural environment where *beep* is residing in a tent... if you watch carefully there's some visual comparisons drawn that show well thought out cinematography.
As for comparisons, there's also a lot of comparing and contrasting of the films main cast, as they deal with very similar questions of morality but deal with it very differently. This is perhaps the most interesting points of the film.
That much being said, I did not actually enjoy the film. It had its well made aspects, and was very intriguing, but never produces enough substance to turn the intriguing thematic material into anything more solid than mere intrigue. You'll walk out wondering - what the hell was all that about anyway? And you'll have ideas, especially about the messianic and religious symbolism the film draws upon, but there's just not enough substance to call it anything but flimsy at best. It's not even on the level of being ambiguous.
The soundtrack may work for some, and I even enjoy Radiohead, but it was overwhelming for me. Yes, it fits the atmosphere, but it was overused, it felt like the soundtrack equivalent of "Speed Racer's" cartoony VFX. It fit, but was just too much.
Finally, there was perhaps a bit too much unnecessary gruesome imagery that could have been more subtly shown or even implied. I'm not against violence in film, but "rain" took it beyond what was necessary, the audience simply did not need to see everything that was shown. I felt like this was enforced by the maggots in *beep* eye, which was not violent, but simply felt like it was put in for the explicit shock factor. Some may disagree with me on this point, fine, but I felt like it was a bit much.
I really wanted to like this film, and feel it could have been a very good movie. I don't think it could be a masterpiece of cinema, but could have been very solid, but in the end "Rain" felt like a film that had it been a bit more thought out, and about 30% more well executed, could have been a truly solid art house thriller, but ultimately falls short of not what we want, but rather what we need in order to actually comprehend the film as a whole.
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