Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Movies: My Blueberry Nights

Wong Kar Wai, say it ain't so. Tell me that you're not really responsible for this travesty, that you were just tired, exhausted really, empty, after making so many brilliant movies, that you licensed your name to some young hack who gave you millions from his father's bank account in exchange for the use of your name, that he wrote this awkward, cliche-ridden screenplay, that he hired these incompetent actors, specified their tawdry costumes, and chose the mediocre music to accompany all their stilted scenes.

Clearly you aren't yourself without Christopher Doyle by your side. Darius Khondji does a decent job at mimicking his style when still, but the moving shots are so sloppy, so blurry, so runny; I'm reminded how ugly digital still is. I'm reminded that white Americans don't look so good smoking and sulking (whereas Chinese people do this with great panache in each of your other films). I'm reminded that, while you posit that Jude Law is the answer to every one's existential problems, there aren't enough Jude Laws to go around, and, in the average all-night cafe in New York, one will never find Jude Law wiping table tops. One will find a squat immigrant who hasn't learned English yet. There is no free pie in New York, either.

And yes, people are in pain: they drink, they gamble, they refuse to talk to husbands/fathers/etc., just wanting those people to disappear, to die, and then, when those people do disappear, die, they are sad, they regret their choices, they hate themselves, they cry, they drink, they gamble. But could you not have found a more original way to tell us this? Did the alcoholic have to be a cop, whose wife left him for a cowboy? Did the gambler have to be a girl, whose daddy taught her to gamble? Could anything be more trite? Do you think that this is what America is? Is that how you see us? Through the lens of the 1950s? What happened to the nuance and the poeticism of In the Mood For Love? Is it just America that bunged it up? Are we so crass? So sloppy? So shallow? Do you think we are?

1 comment:

andrew said...

I was about to see this when I opted for "Son of Rambow" instead. I trust your judgment overall, but you're quite obviously wrong about how white people look when smoking. Just think back to when movies were in black and white...do you think it might be that 1) white people (thank god) no longer know how to smoke to look cool or (less likely) 2) that Wong Kar-Wai doesn't know how to change his approach to smoking when it comes to shooting white people? Remember, just cuz you're disparaging whitey doesn't mean it's okay. Have you ever blogged something similar about any other race? Bet not.