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Bamboo Chu-Sheng Chen,
John Liu is an aspiring violinist who is flocked by women like bees to honey because of his handsome face. However what he really wants is to meet someone special who appreciates his violin performance. Eve Choi is a professional translator whose true passion is translating love poems, but for work she is stuck in translating cheesy novels and cheap thrillers which make her feel tense and frightened. Living in different units of the same apartment building, separated by one thin wall, they have brushed shoulders in crowd hundreds times, but their paths never really cross. One day in the park, they finally bump into each other and spend a beautiful afternoon together. Rain starts. They exchange phone numbers and quickly run home, but the rain has soaked through their precious scrap of paper and the phone numbers are hopelessly smudged.Written by
If two people meet and they both fall in love, that's destiny for sure.If neither loves the other, even if they meet millions of times, it's still not destiny.If one's in love and the other isn't, and the one who's in love grabs on and won't let go while the other just wants to run away, not only is it not destiny... It's pain.
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I am normally a fan of Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai, though lately I have found they forays outside of macho, all-male films a bit distressing. Stylized though films such as Chung Fo and PTU were, films such as Running on Karma and Turn Left Turn Right can not but make me wonder about if they have any sort of talent outside of the genre made great by the likes of John Woo.
The film, based on a story by Jimmy, a comic book writer of a gloomy variety from Taiwan, takes the premise that two people who, having met once when they were small, are fated to take on lives which parallel each other's. Without giving too much away, it follows the typical boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl routine. Fair and well. But the good things I have to say end here.
<Chip on shoulder warning>
It is difficult to take a film seriously when it attempts to portray a violinist who is supposed to be good enough to be hired from Taiwan to work for an orchestra in Vienna, when the actor himself can not be bothered to learn to hold a violin properly, let alone bowing properly to the music he was supposed to be playing. Equally, it is difficult to root for a girl who get scared translating German horror novels into Chinese, when her very job was translation of such texts. Perhaps the use of the Polish poet, and her poem, served some dramatic purpose which eludes me, though I suspect its only purpose was to show how "classy" and "refined" our heroin was. But the Chinese translation she kept mumbling on about was so badly done, so hard on the ears, so devoid of literary artistry that it only served to alienate me, the audience, rather than giving me the sense of fate and romance that it was supposed to. In short, two rather lacking actors playing two unconvincing and rather lacking characters. Apt, perhaps. Interesting? No.
Then there was the supporting cast. I fail to understand what the script writer and the director thought throwing two comical supporting characters into what should have been a gloomy film, shot all in a grey tone, would achieve. The moment I laid eyes on them, in the midst of what would otherwise have been a delicate and sensitive story about fate and unrequited love, I wanted to reach into the screen and slap them silly.
Though the premise was interesting, the film grew tiring very quickly when every scene has to be repeated, almost verbatim, once, by the other leading character. That was simply a clumsy and sloppy way of showing how their lives parallel each other, and was very trying on the audience's patience. Effectively, the film could well have been cut into 50 minutes and be done with.
Perhaps I should say that the script writer and director should be lauded for their ability to take a perfectly interesting idea and making it uninteresting, and taking a cast for whom we would potentially have sympathy for and making them formulaic and laughable.
11 of 26 people found this review helpful.
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