Sunday, January 1 1995
One doesn't need a Kung Fu Cinema background to enjoy 'Crouching Tiger', but it helps in appreciating how the movie builds on -- and arguably surpasses -- that rich cinematic tradition.
If this film only accomplishes one thing, it's this: acknowledging that even straight boys explore their sexuality with their male friends and come out of the experience more aware of themselves, not necessarily fucked up.
It's clear that we are supposed to be blown away by the cosmic wonder of it all, but I'm afraid my sense of cosmic wonder gave way to an incoherent gargle of rage: after ninety minutes of non-plot, non-character-development, and non-action, the payoff is a single piece of non-exposition.
Despite and sometimes because of its unevenness, the film conveys the delusions of daily existence with fierce poetry.
The effectiveness of 'The Circle' lies in its attention to details -- it shows what it feels like to be watched, to be afraid, to be angry and to be disappointed, all the time.
'You don't change Chinatown. Chinatown changes you.' So warns Detective Nick Chen (Chow Yun Fat), upon meeting his squeaky clean newbie partner, Danny Wallace (Mark Wahlberg) in The Corruptor. And so persists the myth of Chinatown. Alluring, strange, and always inscrutable, in the movies it remains an uncrackable bastion of Otherness.