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More arthouse than action movie
on 30 September 2012
If you're searching for a Saturday night action flick, then keep looking: 'I Come With The Rain' may be a blood-soaked and brutal slice of contemporary Eastern life but it's filmed with the patient precision of art cinema. It's definitely not a typical Josh Hartnett movie. Similarly, the extreme violence and set-to-stun levels of soundtrack will repel many arthouse enthusiasts. So I'm guessing that this film will appeal to a limited audience; there can't be many of us who will revel in a mash-up of Hannibal Lecter, Asian ganglands and the ultimate revelation of Christianity...
For many, 'I Come With The Rain' will be hard going and unrewarding. I was delighted to be shocked and surprised by its originality, its daring, the intensity of the performances and the beauty of the filming. At the same time, the casual violence is delivered in a matter of fact, bone-breakingly blunt manner. It's not meant to be glamorous, but still... the serial killer's human sculptures are weirdly compelling, not unlike HR Geiger's biomechanoid art.
The cinematography is gorgeous but static, and lingers on empty frames which contrast the Bladerunner vistas of high-tech Hong Kong with the ramshackle shantytowns of the homeless and hopeless. The plot weaves together the lives of a detective who became far too intimately involved with a serial killer he was hunting; a missing young man who may have been murdered but may also be a very special healer; a ganglord who cannot bear to be without his woman, and a superb supporting cast. The pace may be slow but every scene is important - the dialogue at times is vital in contributing to a modern interpretation of a pivotal set of beliefs. Pay attention: even the seemingly trivial moments are significant.
There is some action in the traditional sense in the shape of some fast car scenes and triad-style stand-offs, but all the tension comes from the slow crescendo of cruelty which pervades the film. It kicks off with explicit viciousness, and that sense of merciless malice is sustained throughout.
A film full of shadows, featuring some astonishing acting and a bold premise. Don't expect to understand all of it when you reach the end: you may want to watch it again in a while, to soak up more of the incidentals.