In The Mood For Love

In The Mood For Love

Rating: 9/10
Year: 2000
Genre: Drama
Director: Wong Kar-Wai
Cast: Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, T.W. Poon, Roy Cheung (Voice)

Among Wong Kar Wai's perplexed art house films, In The Mood For Love is probably the most easy to grasp one. There is no jargons or any redundant use of hand-held camera stylistic shooting in the film.

The story of the film is quite simple and straightforward. Chow (Tony Leung) moves to an apartment with his wife at the same time as Su (Maggie Cheung) and his husband do. They discover that their other halves are having a secret love affair. What will they do in response to this?

The script of this film is well calculated. The dialogues of the characters are so concise that there is almost no meaningless words spoken by the characters. Spectators will find it easy to follow the story since they are not baffled by lunatic dialogues. Moreover, Thanks to production designer S.P. Cheung, the visual design of this film is very beautiful. Images are well focused and the contrast between the dark and light objects is apparent. Similar to Wong's previous films, the mise en scene and the camera angle are considered cautiously. Every composition shows careful aesthetic and artistic consideration. The mood and the atmoshpere fit the background of the story, that is, the 1960s period of Hong Kong, perfectly.

The brilliant use of montage and slow-motion succeeds in heightening the dramatic effects, from that we can see Wong's creative ability of manipulating space and time in films effectively. The symbols of Wong's old and new films also appear in the film (for instance, this film is indeed a sequel to Wong's Days Of Being Wild, and the doorsign of Chow's secret office signifies his work in progress 2046), I think in certain ways, they act as a brief retrospection of his film career.

I definitely love this film, but there are still some areas I do not like about it. The rhythm, or to be a bit more specific, the flow of time in this film is too slow. If you watch the film several times, you will find out that the plot of the film is actually very simple, there is no dramatic twist or cinematic stimulation throughout the film at all. No doubt the use of slow-motion can enhance the dramatic effect, but overdose is always no good. For instance, we already see how the abuse of slow-motion weakens the tension of the story in the final moment of Katsuyuki Motohiro's Space Travelers.

To me, Wong Kar Wai is a master in the manipulation of time and space, especially the consideration of mise en scene and camera angle, but he is definitely not a good storyteller. He relies too much on his subjective sense to tell a story rather than trying to communicate with the spectators in a more objective manner, and that's why his films always seem a little bit elusive to the public.
Overall speaking, it is still a highly recommended work, especially for beginning admirers of Wong Kar Wai. If Ashes Of Time puzzles you a lot, you may want to try this film out, it will probably give you a new perception toward Wong Kar Wai's film.

VCD (HK version) - The quality of the VCD is not that bad actually. However, in order to fully appreciate the art of Wong Kar Wai, get the DVD please!

Cool guy(s) - Maggie Cheung

Reviewed by: Kantorates