Rain Dogs is an art film which draws emotions from a profound place somewhere deep inside our being. It is a slow paced drama of the coming of age set against a nostalgic backdrop of small towns and inner cities. Even though the time is not clearly stated in the movie, it feels like the seventies juxtaposed in contemporary settings.
This film is raw and natural. It takes its time to unravel the human nature from a boy's point of view. Snippets of seemingly unrelated scenes are weaved together by a thread of ambiguity, and subtle messages are intertwined to evoke wistful reveries. For those who grew up in small provincial towns, this will draw you back into the hey days of your youth when everything was hopeful and filled with expectations. It is in the understated events that gives Rain Dogs its strength. It leaves you to interpret what you want and not be dictated into swallowing what the director feels you should. The darker side of Kuala Lumpur is featured in a very bleak and somber mood. Although it doesn't represent the city in its entirely, the harrowing reality is that these dreary places still exists even until today.
Wai Hung Liu, a veteran Hong Kong actor, supports an impressive role as the laid back, beer guzzling and unpredictable uncle. Pete Teo and Yasmin Ahmad are also worth mentioning since both their forte are not in acting but in singing-songwriting and movie directing respectively. It is quite a treat to watch them shed away their already renowned image and put on another thinking hat for the movie.
Rain Dogs may not be the kind of movie that storms in like a blockbuster but it will definitely continue to shower on you for as long as you can remember. It speaks to you in ways only an intimate friend can and that's what Ho Yuhang, the writer and the director, does best. In the closing of this esoteric tale the gospel song 'Sometimes I feel like a motherless child' drowns you with an atmospheric after taste of what you can expect of the director in the near future.
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