• 03-20-2006, 12:38 PM
    **DVD Review Days of Being Wild**
    Days of Being Wild (1991, Wong Kar Wai): Highly Reccomended.

    One of the most decorated movies in Hong Kong cinema (winner of the 1991 Hong Kong film awards for Best Actor, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Picture, as well as the 1997 recipient the special award for the best Hong Kong Film of the past 10 years) is also one of the most simple movies. The story revolves around a young man, Yuddy (Leslie Chung- Best Actor), who, after learning he was adopted begins to act out by manipulating two women (Carina Lau - Nominated for Best Actress, and Maggie Chung from Hero and also a Wong Kar Wai regular). A friend of Yuddy's falls for one woman, while a cop (Andy Lau) falls for the other. Both after the man has discarded these women like any other piece of trash in his house. Yuddy first goes after Maggie Chung, and then leaves her for Carina Lau, and then eventually leaves Carina. Although those descriptions imply a much more active process. Yuddy does not leave these women so much as he simply moves on, and even that imply more activity than how Yuddy truly operates. The thought process is hidden behind so many layers, that it is tough to discern what Yuddy's motives truly are until we reach the end, and even then we're not sure who he is trying to hurt the most. The last few lines of voice over are key, as we switch from perspective to perspective from Yuddy, to the Cop, to his adoptive Mom, and then back to Yuddy, we might have an answer.
    Wong Kar Wai has an incredible dream like qaulity to his narrative point of view. I have only seen 2046 and now this one, and both of them bear his imprint.
    His visual language is very similar to Michaelangelo Antonioni and Stanley Kubrick. He'll keep a scene on one character throughout the entire length of the dialogue, without a single cut. He'll show you far more of what you need to know above and beyond the actual dialogue being spoken by the characters. It is tough to sit back and be passive while watching this movie (or, i would imagine, any Wong Kar Wai film) as you have to really pay attention to what is going on. He switches the narrative perspective a great deal, and does not follow a more traditional storytelling point of view. We start off from the young man's perspective, then it switches to one of the girls, then back to the young man, then to the cop, then to the adoptive mother, then the young man.. all the while seemlessly transitioning so that none of the switches feels jarring at all, but simply flows exactly as it should.
    The journey each individual character takes is fragmented to the viewer as we are only seeing portions of it, but as a whole, the narrative gels together perfectly.
    [On a side note, Andy Lau plays the cop and from the second he shows up on screen, you can see why he is one of Asia's biggest stars. In spite of not being the 'lead' he is extremely magnetic and a fun actor to watch. He had already made about 60+ movies before making this one, and has made about 60+ movies since this one. If you haven't seen any of his films, you should really check him out (although I think most people here already know him from House of Flying Daggers).]

    I have to say I was a little dissapointed in the transfer. It is a bit of an older film, but nothing so old that it shouldnt show off the incredible cinematography (including one long steadicam shot that is a strange mix of kubricks style of steadicam, with scorcese's goodfella's steadicam) It's not quite as sharp as I've seen on others, but nothing so horrible that it was distracting from the film in any way. Just the age of the film showed beyond what I would have suspected how old this movie is.

    It's pretty much a talkie movie, and the dialogue came through crisp and clear throughout. Not a whole lot of effects or explosions or anything. Decent soundtrack as well that would pipe up at the right moments with its haunting melody (very similar to 2046 in this sense too).

    Pretty much nonexistent. Was dissapointed in the lack of extras.
  • 03-21-2006, 06:50 AM
    Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Why do I like Kam's reviews more than my own?

    Thanks Kam, I am going to rent this!