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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

186 of 1001 Movies: ChungKing Express (1994)

This film was so popular with one director, Quentin Tarantino, that he signed a deal with a movie company to release it with his own company so he could spread the awareness of it. While I can't say I was as moved I can see the stylish appeal of the movie with lots of color, and a very strong second half of the movie though. With a first half that isn't as strong though, and doesn't have as appealing characters it gets off to a weak start though. So if you're watching you might want to focus more on the artsy appeal than the plot as the plot is a bit everywhere.

Summary: It's Hong Kong, a big city, but one that is easy to get lonely in. The first half focuses on Cop 223, or He Zhiwu. He is waiting to hear back from a girl, but if he doesn't hear back from her before the next day he wants to move on. As his hope lessens through the night he sets his eyes on a woman who deals drugs for a living. The story then shifts to an unnamed cop, Cop 663. His is going through a flight attendant leaving him, but a woman named Faye and him seem to be becoming closer, but her fear of settling down may keep them apart.


Acting: The acting ranges from good to what seems a bit bad to me. I found Cop 663 to be the strongest actor. He seemed very natural in his role, and I could feel the pain and then hope he is given from Faye. I think Faye though was bit of weak actress though I did enjoy her role a lot. It was still enjoyable how her character develops another character though I didn't always feel she was natural at the part. Zhiwu though isn't very memorable, nor the drug dealing woman he meets, and then by the time the movie is over the second part of the story way outshines them.

Filming: The strongest part of the movie is in how it is filmed. The color and the way the city is conveyed looks amazing.  The color is very vivid even though most the movie seems to be at night and takes place at a fast food joint there. The way it's lit though just has a lot of life, and it sort of makes you drawn into the film. There are also other scenes that are well done though where the person seems to be very characterized by the music that she listens to and how goes about trying to fix someone else's life. The way they are able to portray what she does shows a lot about her personality just in what they include.

Plot: If you're looking for plot then this movie definitely lacks a lot of that. I get that the director wanted to convey the varying types of loneliness in the city, and also wanted to express just how close you are to a similar or other circumstance, but I feel like the movie could have just thrown out the first bit and allowed us to enjoy the second story more. The characters were entertaining, and they both seemed likable. Even though the actress for Faye wasn't the strongest there was something still interesting enough about her that whenever she was on screen I couldn't stop following her story for a second. I also was really pulling for them to make it work.

ChungKing Express is visually great, and the soundtrack they put to the film is memorable and created an atmosphere that stood out to me. It made me want to wander the city and feel the magic despite the fact that ultimately all these characters seem to be battling their loneliness. I think it is a movie that singles can very well associate with.

Rating 7 of 10.


Chungking Express (1994) on IMDb

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