51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hong Kong 'Brief Encounter'
Here is a film that fills all your senses to saturation point, that takes as it's cue the idea that each minute detail in a moment carries equal weight and hat some people do rise above the mundane in their search for love.
Every frame of this film is lovingly prepared and the screen bursts with the vibrancy of its colours whilst keeping the protagonists in an emotional...
Published on 3 July 2003 by Prufrock
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars unusual film with haunting music
I first heard the huanting music to this film which whet my curiosity to search out the film, and on the strength of the reviews on Amazon I bough the dvd and its second part, "2046" which I have yet to see. It is undoubtedly a good film, the characters are played well, the editing is razor-sharp and in the early scenes set in the cramped alleyways and tenements of 1960s...
Published on 31 Aug 2011 by cheam-film-buff
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardly forgettable,
This review is from: In The Mood For Love [VHS]  (VHS Tape)Like many Chinese films, this one won me with its sublty. A distict oriental flavour of restrained passion. The cinematography is as poignant as in Zhang Yimo's films. Beautiful clothes add to the picturesqueness.
5.0 out of 5 stars constellation of luninaries,
It is slow moving, almost without dialogue, a story of tension and unrequited love and inner battles. Words, crockery, wallpaper, clothes, weather, and supremely, a superb director handling two superb leads communicate this story of pathos and vulnerability with tenderness and compassion.
A work of genius which I still do not fully see. Well done to all its contributors. I wish I could meet the cast and crew in order to shake their hands.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Observed, Deeply Felt,
This review is from: In The Mood For Love (Special Edition 2 Disc) [DVD]  (DVD)For this year 2000 masterpiece, Hong Kong's Wong Kar-Wai continued with his well-trodden theme of (apparently) lonely individuals seeking companionship and love, but unlike in his earlier Chungking Express, here Wong tones down the pace (both visual and aural) significantly and delivers a slow-moving, (needless to say) stylish, evocative and emotional tour-de-force. Indeed, although I am not a fan of 'micro-genre' definition for any art form, In The Mood For Love, with its superb colour-palette photography by Christopher Doyle (and latterly Mark Lee Ping-Bin) and evocative soundtrack (original music by Michael Galasso), would just about personify what I would take to be 'poetic realism' in cinema.
Wong has been criticised in some circles (at times rightly, I would say) for presenting 'style over substance' in his films, but here, not only does he manage to retain his levels of visual innovation, but also imbues his film with a simple, heartfelt romance as neighbours, Tony Leung's newspaper worker, Chow, and Maggie Cheung's secretary, Mrs Chan, both suffering from 'distanced' marital relationships (literally in their case as their respective spouses are, coincidentally, absent on frequent business trips), embark on a fragile romance. Once we (as viewers) have got over the unlikely coincidence (perhaps merely a figment of the couple's imagination?) affecting their respective spouses, Wong meticulously avoids any syrupy sentimentalism, depicting the 'lovers' relationship as firmly based in reality, with its ups and downs, and frequently kowtowing to the social conventions and restrictions existing in 1962 Hong Kong society. Indeed, one of the areas in which Wong's film scores particularly highly is in its depiction of this society's formal conservatism (on 'downgrading' his tie, Mrs Chan's boss quips, 'the new one was too showy') and the 'uprightness' of Wong's two protagonists, as Chow ('You're too polite') rejects the tone of the banter of his gambling, whore-mongering pal, Ping (a impressively blustering turn from Ping Lam Siu).
Of course, along the way, Wong's film is never less than hauntingly beautiful. Doyle's cinematography is lush and frequently saturated (particularly the reds), as well as being full of mesmerising bouts of slow-motion, long pans, truncated people shots and hypnotic close-ups. Similarly, Wong's use of Galasso's musical themes, Shigeru Umebayashi's Yumeji's Theme and Nat King Cole's Quizas, Quizas, Quizas round off what is an outstandingly rich sensorial cinematic experience. The rain-soaked scenes are particularly wonderful, with the sight of Maggie Leung brushing rainwater off her clothes and face constituting (foe me, at least) the height of (restrained) sensuous eroticism. Wong also makes use of some clever, dream-like, (varying) repeat sequences to reflect the lovers' uncertainties about the potential course of their relationship. The film's closing sequence of Chow at a ruined Cambodian monastery is also beautiful poignant and full of feelings of yearning.
For me, Wong's film would certainly rank in my top 20 (maybe top 10) films made (thus far) in this millennium. I also note the blurb on the DVD I have of the film comparing it with Brief Encounter as 'remade by Kubrick and Scorsese'. Whilst I would concur that Wong's film has a very close companion piece in David Lean's 1945 masterpiece, particularly in terms of its take on social convention and restraint, I'm not sure I would liken it (in any way) to a Scorsese creation - maybe a Kubrick in Barry Lyndon-, but certainly not Eyes Wide Shut(!)-, vein. Probably best just to think of it as a Wong Kar-Wai film, I would suggest.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
In the Mood for Love focuses on the intensity of emotions rather than exploring the lust, passion and sex of infidelity. In the early stages we watch Chow and Su often alone in their rooms, passing each other on the street with a polite glance but nothing more. Over time they begin to talk and eventually realise the truth about their partners in a difficult conversation about a tie and a handbag that each have received as gifts but these items are recognised as also being owned by the other's partners! Chow's wife and Su's husband are also in Japan at the same time and stay there for a while so it's not the best hidden affair. Chow begins to fill his hours writing and asks Su to help him though their friendship draws suspicion from the other residents. They find themselves re-enacting the movements of their partners, trying to imagine how they began an affair and how they will confront them about their lies. The closer Chow and Su get though, the more they are forced to fight feelings developing for one another.
I enjoyed this more than 2046 which was also an emotional experience. Leung and Cheung are both superb in the leads, depicting the vulnerability of their respective characters impeccably and the relationship that they are determined to stop developing is one you will be desperate for them to begin. The ending is particularly poignant and will both frustrate and move the audience as resolutions finally take place but do they fight for their marriages, walk away, or do they try to be together?
In the Mood for Love is a carefully paced but beautiful film. Physical contact between Chow and Su is at a minimum but their characters still manage to turn the emotional levels up to max. This is a simple but heartfelt story of two lonely people that suffer the worst betrayal and find comfort in one another during their darkest days. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars the best ever,
This review is from: In The Mood For Love [DVD] (DVD)the movie of my life...I have no words to describe how much this film touched me. It is an unique masterpiece.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful,
This review is from: In The Mood For Love (Special Edition 2 Disc) [DVD]  (DVD)I first saw this at the cinema and thoroughly enjoyed it, so having the DVD is a treat. The story, the acting and cinematography are summarised elsewhere. I think that this and Chunking Express are the best things Wong Kar Wai has done; and if I were forced to choose again then In the Mood For Love would come out on top due to its completeness of vision and storyline.
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine DVD from Tartan (for once!),
This review is from: In The Mood For Love (Special Edition 2 Disc) [DVD]  (DVD)Let's face it: over the last few years, Tartan have put out a lot of shabby, low-contrast, single-layer DVDs of important foreign films, so it's a relief to say that this is not one of them! There are two dual-layer discs, with the film looking as good as you'd hope and lashings of imaginative extras on disc two. The Criterion may still have the edge, but it's pretty close.
5.0 out of 5 stars Hong Kong's Finest,
This review is from: In The Mood For Love (Special Edition 2 Disc) [DVD]  (DVD)Two people living in the same flat complex find their partners are having an affair with each other. As they try and piece together how it happened, they also embark on an emotional journey that aches for a resolution...
Building on his previous success with Happy Together and Chungking Express, Wong Kar Wai gives us this old fashioned and rather marvellous story of reawakened passions, yearning and unrequited love.
Possibly, In the Mood for Love is not to everyone's taste. It wanders in rather lazily at 98mins: not particularly long for a film, but it appears longer because not a lot really happens. But this lazy feel conceals a quite tightly constructed film. Most of the story is cunningly woven around a series of set piece role plays, where the characters act out presumed scenarios between their respective spouses, trying to work out how the affair started. I say cunning because, of course, this makes it difficult for the audience (and the characters) to tell what is "in-role" and what is genuine.
If all this sounds rather arty and self-conscience, that's because it is. Unashamedly so. And it is played to perfection by two of Hong Kong's finest, Maggie Cheung and Leung Chui Wai, with some excellent support from Ping Lam Siu and Rebecca Pan.
It is also a virtuoso performance by Wong Kar Wai, who treats the audience to a sensory, and sensual, overload. Bringing together Christopher Doyle (who later deployed his lush, over-ripe style on Hero) and Pin Bing Lee (whose beautifully understated style can be seen on Springtime in a Small Town) was cinematographic genius. It has all the bold beauty of Doyle, without, frankly, the Athena-poster cheesiness of his work on Hero. The music, as always with Wong, is prominent. From Nat King Cole singing in Spanish, to the haunting strings of the main theme, it perfectly matches the eclectic beauty of the images.
All in all a top film, whether judged on plot, acting, cinematography or soundtrack. Similar to, but more accessible than, Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, this is a beautiful, old fashioned story about love lost and regained.
And watch out for Tony Leung's hotel room 2046, which presaged Wong's recent film of the same name.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance,
This review is from: In The Mood For Love (Special Edition 2 Disc) [DVD]  (DVD)I had not heard of this film and was amazed at the beauty. There is amazing cinemaography, and clarity in direction. It has a cativating storyline of forbidden love. It uses simplicilty and an aim for perfection in format, backdrop and costume. This is definately now one of my favourite films.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully atmospheric tale of alienated desire,
Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung as the leads are one of the finest screen couples in film. The complex emotions are so controlled, this is a film where some of the most high tension scenes happen when they aren't even in the same room, but some of the moments captured along the way are just stunning.
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In The Mood For Love (Special Edition 2 Disc) [DVD]  by Kar Wai Wong (DVD - 2001)
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