First off, I just want to say that I am reviewing this in terms of the movie itself, not the DVD. I rented it but my place only has it on VHS. I watched it 5 times during one rent and I just have to review it. I don't know what extras the DVD does or does not have, but this movie is magical.
This has become one of my favorite movies of all time. I have a feeling that it may be too slow and thoughtful for the majority of the American audience, though. I don't see this as a fault of the movie at all. Only a fault in the bright, flashy dazzle, quick edit after quick edit style of tv, movies, sports, and commercials that Americans are surrounded by 24/7. If the picture isn't jumping around and changing every 1.3 seconds, the average American loses interest. Their (our) loss.
Scent Of Green Papaya has been a favorite of mine since I saw it a few years ago, thus when Vertical Ray showed up at the video store I had to rent it. I hate to slight Green Papaya, but now having seen both, this movie is the better of the two.
Vertical Ray is absolutely hypnotic. There are shots in this movie that take my breath away.
tran nu yen khe (Lien) is so sensual, magnetic, and free in this movie that I can't help but fall for her. I thought I fell for her in Green Papaya, but this movie goes way beyond that one. Her emotional range with just facial expressions, not to mention words, is so alluring. She is so perfectly entrancing. It's a strange thing to say, but just she herself...the way she looks at things, talks, and moves... her face... she is a work of art in and of herself. The camera truly loves her. I really can't explain it. She may be the very definition of grace and sensuality.
I don't think there is any lack of movement in this plot or screenplay. There is a lack of explosions, gunfire, and nudity, yes, but that in no way means the movie is missing anything. Also, I didn't see it mentioned in the couple reviews I read, but there is some very funny stuff in this movie! If you don't laugh out loud a few times during this movie then you aren't paying attention!
Obviously we are all different, and maybe it's just me, but I think the director of this movie and Green Papaya, tran anh hung, is amazing. There is absolutely no one in American cinema capable of making films like these. Now I need to see Cyclo.