Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Come With The Rain

Writes by Eight Rooks in Twitchfilm: It's about suffering, appropriately enough, given for many viewers Tran Anh Hung's I Come With The Rain will be up there as two of the most punishing hours of cinema they're ever likely to sit through. Graced with a relatively high-profile pan-asian cast, the noted Vietnamese arthouse director's first English-language project (after earlier successes with Cyclo and The Scent of Green Papaya) was eagerly awaited for quite some time, then suddenly and
unceremoniously glossed over after a disappointing spin on the festival circuit.

Why? On paper, at least, the premise starts out by making some kind of logical sense; Josh Hartnett (yes, really) plays Kline, an American PI dismissed from the force after becoming a little too immersed in the hunt for a notorious serial killer (Elias Koteas). He's contacted out of the blue by a pharmaceutical tycoon whose adopted son Shitao (Kimura Takuya, Love and Honour, 2046) has gone missing while running an orphanage in Mindanao.

Hartnett tracks Shitao to Hong Kong, assisted by Shawn Yue's debonair police officer, where things get progressively stranger - with the runaway living rough and healing the poor and destitute by literally absorbing their pain (manifesting stigmata in the process, in case anyone didn't get the parallels). Cut to Korean gangster Su Dong-Po, newly in town looking to network (Lee Byung-Hun, recycling his villainous leading role in The Good, The Bad, The Weird). When one of his underlings rebels and makes off with Su's lover Lili (Tran Nu Yên-Khê, the director's wife) the chase that follows sees Shitao rescue Lili, with Su and Kline racing to see who can track him down first.

But what sounds vaguely sane on paper ends up spectacularly derailed for a variety of reasons. Cinematic train-wrecks are not necessarily wholly bad; it's arguably better to be a spectacular failure than a flat-out mediocrity. But most people involved in, say, Chen Kaige's misfiring wuxia pian The Promise were either clearly in on the joke or determined to make the most of it, making that film a guilty pleasure at the very least and even something genuinely, quietly moving for all its frantic histrionics.

The Complete Review Here.

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