(out of 5)
Wong Kar-Wai deservedly burst forth onto the international art house scene with this exuberant urban romance, which he actually filmed during a break while making Ashes Of Time. It tells two stories, one of a hopelessly romantic cop (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who is dumped by his girlfriend and instead falls for a stylish hit woman for a heroin smuggling ring (Brigitte Lin); the film then switches inexplicably to another officer (the great Tony Chiu Wai Leung) who catches the eye of a waitress (Faye Wong) who becomes completely hooked on him. Wong avoids sticky sentimentality, instead focusing on the capriciously unexpected nature of interpersonal sparks, the film never going out of its way to comfortably help you follow a narrative through-line (“impressionistic” is the word often implied to its style). Instead, Wong follows an emotional trajectory that, coupled with Christopher Doyle’s passionately colourful cinematography, makes it a rich treat to behold.
Jet Tone Production
Directed by Wong Kar Wai
Screenplay by Wong Kar Wai
Production Design by William Chang
Costume Design by William Chang
The Criterion Collection