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"I Come With The Rain," is a film that is hard to define. In some ways
it is a redemption story, in other ways it is a reinterpretation of
Christian mythology, and in yet further ways it is a study of evil. If
anything, the film is ambitious in the themes that it tries to explore.
As with most ambition, a degree of prudence is often needed for
reaching higher quality. For example, one may wish to change the world
for the better. However, trying to affect a whole planet is beyond the
capabilities of most. The prudence enters in defining one's world more
strictly. The wish to change the world changes into a wish and drive to
change one's immediate world or community. The ambition becomes
tempered by practical and manageable constraints. Unfortunately, ICWTR
attempts more than it is capable of handling well. The film touches on
the three interconnected themes mentioned above in a less than coherent
way. By the end of the movie, one is left with the sense that valuable
ideas have been brought to the table but never developed into anything
that can be useful or fulfilling to the audience.
The premise of a damaged detective searching for a messianic figure amidst the corruption and evils of modern life is promising. The film falters by attempting to create three interconnected and artfully ambiguous tales about the detective, messiah figure, and the personification of modern corruption and evil. One of the hallmarks of parables is that they are rather simple. The parable usually develops a story around a single moral or epistemological rule. ICWTR attempts to tell three parables in tandem. The result is not a smooth synthesis commenting on the complexities of the human condition. Rather, the film comes of as confused and lacking in relevant concrete development. To be clear, the film itself is not overly difficult to understand; the attempts of the film to convey deeper meaning are muddled and shallow. In fairness, the raising of interesting questions may have been the goal of the film. The problem is that the film does not arm the audience with any tools to continue the discussion later on. As an example, how would you respond to the following question if asked by a random stranger: "Is 'good' tainted when it is saved by 'evil?'" Hopefully this is a jarring question and one that defies immediate answer. In one sense, the question is interesting and plumbs the depths of moral/ethical thinking. In another sense, the question is too brash and off putting. Such a question almost begs for some sort of established framework to deal with it. In essence, the above question comes later in the discussion after some context and philosophical norms are established. ICWTR asks questions like this without giving the audience any real framework to deal with said questions. The film methodically, and beautifully I might add, simply presents scenarios that lead to these questions. The result is a confusing and somewhat disjointed experience. As a viewer, I know I am supposed to have been exposed to some deeply meaningful symbols and questions; yet I do not really know what to do with these symbols or where to go with these questions. In the end, one really wants to find deeper meaning in this film and unfortunately cannot.
While the above may seem a harsh review, the film does offer a great many good points. The cinematography is beautiful. The scenes vary from lush tropical forests to oppressive and over developed cityscapes. The actors assembled are an international powerhouse. While Hartnett may be less than A status in America, Kimura and Lee are considered first rate stars in Asia. In this sense, the film is an international blockbuster. The acting by these stars is somewhat uneven. Of the three, Lee is the most consistent, turning in a nuanced performance that aptly captures the variegated emotions connected with his personification of modern corruption and evil. The editing and pacing are very well done and match the attempted themes. The Radiohead soundtrack adds a pleasant ethereal touch which aids in setting a more contemplative tone. In essence, the film is extremely well made, it just attempts too many messages within the story.
On a personal note, I really wanted to like this film and was somewhat saddened that I was underwhelmed. I enjoy having my knowledge and interpretations of symbolism expanded. Unfortunately, this film merely referenced a great many known symbols without expanding or deepening their meaning. For this and the above reasons, I will probably not recommend this film to many. I tend to see this as a film that attempted something artistic and philosophically profound. No doubt, many people will agree and furthermore extract something from the film. Sadly, I was not able to pull any greater meaning from this movie. 6.7 stars of 10.
Everything about this movie screamed for me to despise it. Yet this
movie is like meeting a person whose appearance is ugly, yet whose
inner beauty is unseen unless given a chance to shine. Dark.... nasty
work with cuts of beauty. It just flows out in both directions, this
movie got a 9 out of 10 from me.
Basically an ex-cop (Josh H.)named Kline who has seen and been overtaken by evil( a serial killer drives him insane over his investigation into this 24 mutilation killings then tortures Kline during a meeting,) is given the task of finding a lost son of a billionaire who turns out to be a new Christ figure, a saint. Which of these two meetings will have the most impact on Kline? Deep, slow and gory but oh so beautiful in a very disturbing way.
OK, I've been wanting to watch this for soooo long and finally I made it! First of all forget the adverts, they completely betray the movie. I was expecting a real good HK gangster movie with a western edge but what I got was much slower, more serious and very edgy. Josh Hartnett was great, possibly the best I've ever seen him and to be honest I usually can't stand him. Well, changed my mind! Unfortunately there were parts of the movie where the dialog was difficult to understand, and this was down down to the Asian actors.....BUT.... It wasn't impossible, and overall the acting in the movie was great. The thing that struck me most about the film was the cinematography which had that real Asian edge, think of any modern Korean movie, it:s beautiful! And the speed of the movie which was sloooow but perfect! I loved it, and I think if you have ever been into Asian cinema or any other for that fact you will too. I:m not going to tell you anything about the story, just watch it......
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kilne is a former detective, 'contaminated' from his investigation of a
serial killer with a penchant for sculpture using human flesh. He turns
private eye and goes in search of Shitao, the missing son of a Howard
Hughes-style millionaire recluse, his journey taking him from The
Philippines to the homeless ramshackle dwellings of Hong Kong's
underbelly. Reliable reports say Shitao was gunned down and left for
dead, but he seems to move ghost-like in the shadows and crevices of
the city. And crucifix-like graffiti and barking prophets seems to
carry a message connected to Shitao
Somebody had the idea to take a festival darling of a director, connects him with two of the biggest stars in the East Asian market, throw in a young Hollywood heartthrob to keep the dialogue in English for the all-important US market, all to a soundtrack by Radiohead how can it lose? By a complete lack of a semi-coherent script, that's how. Rarely does a film fail so completely to display any shred of plot or coherence. There is some waffle about the beauty of human suffering, a bit of scripture misquoted here and there, but it resonates to absolutely nothing. Depressingly, it is a certainty some people will make great claims for this, condescendingly pontificating that if you didn't 'get' it you don't know your religious history, iconography, semiotics, blah blah blah Nonsense. This film is an insult to the intelligence, pure and simple.
The only multi-dimensional character is Harnett's Kline, and his arc is all in flashback to the guy you start the film with, he never grows during the course of the film. Shitao has an American father (actually, less Howard Hughes and more Charlie of the Angels fame) but hardly speaks English. This is obvious from the few lines of dialogue given to Kimura, who gets to grunt a lot clearly because he can hardly manage basic English. Every line he has punctures the suspension of disbelief.
The saving grace for this film is the acting, with Harnett especially powerful when we see his moment of contamination, and Byung-hun Lee effective in his vulnerable moments, few and far between as his day-job is psychotic gangster. Elias Koteas, one of the most reliable character actors around, is under-used, managing to charm and repel in the manner of Lecter, despite having the most giggle-inducing junk to say as dialogue.
Kimura, unfortunately, lets the side down badly. Apparently Byung-hun Lee prepared and rehearsed his scenes meticulously, while Kimura would turn up and ask "What do I have to do?" The Japanese star looks out of his depth beside the Korean. Far and away the most charismatic member of the boy band that spawned him here in Japan, Kimura has coasted through his acting career, looking like he could put in a shift if asked to rise to the challenge. He came close in Wong Kar Wai's 2046. I Come With the Rain asks him to step up to the plate, and he is found badly wanting. The charisma is all surface pouts; when asked to come up with something more nuanced, he simply doesn't have it. I for one thought he had, and to see him crash and burn like this is extremely unpleasant. I should have been feeling pity for the character, not the actor.
Apart from that, there is little to praise. The direction never gets out of third gear, while the editing looks like a work-in-progress. Continuity seems to have been sinful. Clearly the filmmakers think this film will travel on the elements alone, and spent little to no time developing the script. They may be right; the female fans of the male triumvirate pouting on the posters may just be young and naïve enough to think this is art. If they are wrong, they have the consolation of knowing Antichrist will keep them company this year in the category of misjudged art-house projects with messianic connections.
This is one of the best film I have watched. In fact, I watched it twice, and the second time on, I gave it a standing ovation. This film is a piece of art, just like a canvas to Tran Anh Hung ready to paint his imagination for the world to see. It may leave audience baffled after watching it, but you need to watch the details to know the story. This movie is Tran Anh Hung's interpretation of the Life of Christ, it is a fusion of mafia, rock, detective all roll into one. You can call it a misinterpretation of the Bible, but hey, this is art, he has the freedom to express himself. To me, this rocks more than The Passion of Christ, because it got substance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tran Anh Hung could have been proud of three extraordinarily poetic reflections of life in his native Vietnam ("The Scent of Green Papaya", "Cyclo" and "The Vertical Ray of the Sun") before he committed "I Come with the Rain" in English (followed by even worse "Norwegian Wood" in Japanese)- sickly romantic neodecadent fantasy nurtured by masochistic-messianic wet dreams with a crush on American/Korean gore. The story itself abounds in nonsense. While Byung Hun-lee is the right man for this picture, Josh Hartnett seems to have wandered into it from some teenage surfer romance. Imagery is as beautiful as it is hollow ; the sculptures might have been appreciated by the great Francis Bacon - if he could have got over Elias Koteas' meditations.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I believe the director Anh Hung Tran once said I Come With the Rain is
not finished. And it shows. With that in mind, though, it can offer a
satisfying cinematic experience; but it's definitely not for everybody.
Perhaps not for most of the people.
The plot is surprisingly simple: Kline (Hartnett) is an ex cop, now a private detective, who is sent to find a billionaire's missing son Shitao (Kimura). The trail leads to Hong Kong. Turns out the son is actually a Christ figure who uses his powers to heal people. Add in a gangster and his girlfriend and Kline's troubled past (in a form of haunting memories of a serial killer that made sculptures out of his victim's bodies), and there you go.
There have been some criticism for the acting, particularly for the Asian cast's shaky English. It might be distracting to some people, but it's not unbearable (the fact they speak English to each other is confusing, though). Hartnett is surprisingly good as Kline, portraying his apathy and madness in a reserved manner, rarely going over the top. So I don't think he should see this movie as a bad acting choice; it's another role (along with Mozart and the Whale and Lucky Number Slevin) in which he proves he can act, after all.
The story isn't told in a linear manner, which troubles some people. Editing does seem random at times, but it's actually possible to follow the plot just fine. But it's clear the film isn't really about the plot, but the symbolism; and it's where it becomes too vague to truly shine.
They say the best art is the one that doesn't force a message on you, and the one that lets you form your own interpretation. It is true, but there seems to be very little solid material to build your own interpretation here. It seems the director wanted to explore so many things at once: religious symbolism, common thriller tropes, evil and violence, and human body. Taken individually, these things work, but the end result lacks coherence.
However, some of these things do work well. The best is Kline's story that slowly unfolds in flashbacks: his identification with the murderer (and the sculptures inspired by Francis Bacon), his insanity, his apathy, and his inability to view human form in a healthy way. Human body is closely inspected in the film from various angles, and is not limited to grotesque sculptures and healer's tortured body: for example, actors are often seen shirtless, but it doesn't seem sexual.
There are some quite good things in this film. It might be gore, but it shows violence the way it truly is: disgusting, extreme, often grotesque, never romantic. In a way, the film can be taken as the inspection of evil and all the disgusting things people do to each other.
But at the end of the day, the most interesting seem to be the things we don't see: Kline's full story arc with the murderer and slipping into madness, or Shitao's whereabouts. What's in the film seems to be quite peripheral, which might, or might not, be intentional.
In any case, it's difficult to enjoy a film like I Come With the Rain, but it doesn't mean the movie was bad. There's some quite good stuff in it. Too bad it's too vague to truly engage us.
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.
Just too contrived. We start in the Philipines with a sort of lost in the jungle story and end up with "over the top" Chinese gangsters deep in recreational ultra violence... unrelated. I must have missed what all these bad guys had to do with anything. Could this have been two different rolls of film joined into one? Acting is wooden, accents are terrible and the poor American pretty boy looks as confused as I feel! There is some side story of a gangster trying to cure his dreadful girlfriend of heroin addiction in a lost cabin. Nothing to do with anything. The bare chested scenes are simply irrelevant and stick out like sweaty soft porn. Avoid.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film tries to hard to mix both art-house and religion . It FAILS . The pace of the film is so slow i felt as though i,d fallen asleep and had to skip back a few minutes just to make sure i hadn't .The cinematography although good dose very little to enhance the viewing pleasure and the rehashed Asian version of the resurrection is utterly ridiculous . Josh Hartnett gives a decent performance but is let down by the really poor story . The Asian cast at times are very hard to understand but i think that might have something to do with the sound track running into the dialogue continuously . The long lingering moody stares by all the characters in the movie get a bit tedious after a while and probably account for fifteen to twenty minutes of movie time or to put it another way MY TIME WASTED.
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