Thursday, May 15, 2014

Duo luo tian shi (Fallen Angels) (1995)

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writer:    Wong Kar Wai
Cast:        Leon Lai, Michelle Reis, Takeshi Kaneshiro
Language: Cantonese

Like Chungking Express, film is divided into two story lines but both meshed together instead of one being followed by the other like in the former film. One of them tells the story of a  professional killer (Leon Lai) who has a lady business partner who basically looks after his room in Chungking Mansions when he is away on assignments. They have had their partnership for 155 weeks without meeting each other. The second storyline follows the activities of He Zhiwu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who breaks into closed down shops in the middle of the night and pretend to be running those businesses. He proclaims through narration that he is incapable of speaking after eating expired pineapples (Chungking reference) at the age of five. Three ladies are primarily involved in their lives and film follows their abstract relationships.

The exquisitely flowing cinematography from Christopher Doyle is even more amped up when compared with Chungking Express and the characters even more abstract and weird. When I first watched it I thought it was just a good film but not nearly as good as Wong Kar Wai's other great works. That is a mistake one could make if you are focusing too much on plot and not soaking in the stunning imagery and atmosphere of the film. I have learned to not look too much into the plot of these films and this is essential when you are watching Wong Kar Wai films. The characters are very weird and dreamy but that sits very well with the way the film is shot. I have never enjoyed John Woo's famous shoot them up scenes where the protagonist armed with two guns takes on a large group of armed bad men in a crowded setting mainly because we are meant to take it seriously. But similar scenes in Fallen Angels are so enjoyable because of the nature of the characters who are wielding these double guns. 

Overall it a great Wong Kar Wai experience but for people who are not familiar with his work it might be better to start watching some of his other works before coming to this. In terms of balance 'Chungking Express' 'Happy Together' and 'In the mood for love' are his best works, but 2046 and Fallen Angels are still great films nevertheless. I am also gonna revisit 'Days of Being Wild' soon.

Rating: 4/5