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Archive for May 16th, 2012

A Hong Kong fast food restaurant acts as the link between two unusual stories of police officers in love in this eccentric, stylish comedy-drama which has been split into two segments. The first centers on a depressed cop struggling to come to terms with a recent break-up. He starts getting obsessed with eating tinned pineapples with the expiry date of May 1st as his girlfriend was called May and his birthday is on May 1st. He thinks she’ll get back with him on his birthday. His sad isolation is transformed when he encounters a beautiful, mysterious femme fatale, whose involvement with the criminal underworld proves troublesome for both. The second story explores the odd relationship between a female restaurant worker and another recently jilted police officer. When his ex-girlfriend leaves a letter with a key to his apartment at the restaurant, the strange woman takes the key and decides to regularly clean and redecorate the man’s apartment whilst he’s working until one day she’s caught in the act……..

I’ve had mixed experiences with Wong Kar Wai’s movies so far. I wasn’t impressed with Ashes of Time Redux but 2046 was slightly better so I came into watching Chunking Express thinking it might be a good movie but nothing special. How wrong I was! If you think this is a typical HK movie then you’re going to be in for a treat as this movie is so much better than a lot of action/comedy movies that I’ve seen from the territory. I was very surprised but how much I enjoyed it – in fact I watched it twice in 2 days! This is a masterpiece make no mistake about it and even giving it the maximum 5 star rating isn’t enough – yes, it really is that good! It’s one of those movies that will leave feeling exhilirated after watching it. Director Wong Kar-Wai takes us on an emotional journey of love, loss, and chance encounters. It is a story of human despair and loneliness told with a good measure of comedy. The cinematography alone keeps your eyes glued to the screen with the brilliant use of colour, fast and slow-motion shots and other visual treats. Well done to Christopher Doyle for his stellar work. The direction of the movie is excellent and it is easily Wong Kar Wai’s most accessible movie. The soundtrack is very memorable and California Dreamin’ by the Mamas & The Papas will be indelibly printed on your mind afterwards. Whenever you’ll hear the song in the future it will guarantee to have you thinking about this movie.

The acting is superb. Brigitte Lin is wonderful as the mysterious enigmatic blonde. On the other hand, Faye Wong’s charismatic and bouncy personality is so infectious and definitely made her my favourite character in the movie. It all comes out through her facial expressions, her dancing, her bright eyed look and smile! Her Cantonese version of the Cranberries song Dreams is outstanding. Takeshiro Kaneshiro and Tony Leung are also fantastic as the 2 cops struggling through their love troubles.

What more can I say about this extraordinary story other than it’s an absolute gem. A perfect movie if ever there was one. If you plan on watching this classic movie in the near future I truly hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Sadako’s Rating: 5 stars out of 5

PS – I just had to add this clip from the movie of Faye Wong singing her version of Dreams as it is just as good as the original.

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