(Review originally written at 24 November 2007)

No doubt that this is a professionally made movie but the story is truly lacking at times. The getting clean and finding conciliation with her son seem like two totally different things in the movie, even though they are obviously connected to each other. It's one of the reasons why I regard this as a disjointed picture.

Other reasons are that not all story lines seems that relevant in the movie movie and not all get wrapped up properly. Some characters in the long run are pretty redundant ones. It makes the movie move slower than really necessary at times. The movie is already quite short now but in my opinion it could and perhaps also should had been even 10-20 minutes shorter.

You can say a lot of things about this movie but you can't accuse it of not being original. Despite not having a so original story, the movie at all times keeps a realistic and original approach of things. I think this really says something about the directing qualities of Olivier Assayas.

The movie gets entirely carried by Maggie Cheung. She acts in 3 totally different languages for a large part in this movie. You have got to respect that! Which other actor can say he or she is capable of doing that? But no, it wasn't always a character I could sympathize with, since she is still a kind of offbeat person. It still was the movie that introduced the western world to Maggie Cheung. Nick Nolte also of course plays one fine role, though his role is perhaps a bit more limited than you would expect. And man, how heavy was he on the bottle during the filming off this movie? At times his hands were shaking and he was touching his head. Something tells me this wasn't acting or part of his character. Nolte is of course notorious for his drinking problems. The Nick Nolte character and the Maggie Cheung character also don't really feel connected in this movie. as if they were making two completely different pictures at the time on their own. It just doesn't feel right, not even when they're together in the same scene. It feels like two captain on one ship, with each of them taking their own course.

See it's for its fine directing but don't expect to be blown away by a terribly sad or powerful dramatic story.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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