HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sorry to Bother You
Last Days, The
Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story
Once Upon a Time in London
King Lear
Under the Silver Lake
Satan's Mistress
Border
Lemonade Joe
Earth Maiden Arjuna
Sons of Katie Elder, The
Soldier, The
Mr. Topaze
Aquaman
One, Two, Three
Bad Times at the El Royale
Caretaker, The
Old Man and the Gun, The
Song of Bernadette, The
Creed II
Anna and the Apocalypse
Return of the Hero
White Reindeer, The
Lizzie
Wicked, Wicked
Faces Places
Strange Woman, The
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Sky Bandits
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Devil's Sword, The
Leprechaun Returns
Man in the Wilderness
Mug
Love Me Deadly
Look Away
J.C.
Filmworker
Sixty Glorious Years
   
 
Newest Articles
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
   
 
  Chungking Express Only The LonelyBuy this film here.
Year: 1994
Director: Wong Kar Wai
Stars: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Faye Wong, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Brigitte Lin, Valerie Chow, Chen Jinquan, Lee-na Kwan, Liang Zhen
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: Wong Kar Wai has continued to refine his filmmaking technique over the ten years since Chungking Express brought the director attention in the West, and his ragged, freewheeling fourth film now seems very different to the more composed style of In the Mood for Love and 2046. It's a film predominantly about surviving heartbreak, but Kar Wai also celebrates the colours, sounds and pace of his native Hong Kong.

Two policemen hang around the busy the Midnight Express snack bar, never meeting but both sad and lonely after recent relationship break-ups. Cop 223 (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is convinced his girlfriend will come back to him by his 25th birthday, one month after she left, but when she doesn't he finds himself talking to a mysterious blonde-wigged woman (Brigitte Lin) in a bar. Meanwhile, Cop 633 (Tony Leung) has caught the eye of the snack bar owner's cousin Faye (Faye Wong), who seems to be developing a somewhat unhealthy obsession with him – and his apartment.

Although all of these characters spend time daily at the snack bar, Kar Wai divides his film rather than weaving the two stories together. The first part is shorter and sketchier. The girl that Cop 223 ends up meeting in a bar is in fact a drug runner, who is in serious trouble with her bosses after losing a shipment of heroin. She has little interest in talking to this friendly but melancholy man – ironically a policeman – but they get drunk together anyway. The second part is funnier but no less poignant. When Cop 633's ex leaves her door key at the snack bar for him to pick up, Faye takes it and without his knowledge starts spending lunchtimes in his apartment – cleaning, introducing her own belongings and scouring his bed for evidence of female company.

These people are lonely and a little unhinged, prone to obsessive behaviour. Cop 223 buys a can of pineapples with a May 1st use-by date every day until then (his birthday) – when his ex has not returned by date, he eats the whole lot in one go, making himself sick. Cop 633 has on-going conversations with objects in his apartment, encouraging them not to become too despondent now that his girlfriend has left, while Faye's habit of whiling away the afternoon at his place is definitely in stalker territory. And yet sympathetic performances from Kaneshiro, Wong and the always terrific Leung, and the presence of philosophical, confessional voiceovers, make these habits seem funny and endearing rather than weird. Particularly amusing is Cop 633's reaction to the changes that Faye makes to his home; it takes him some days to notice and even when he does he presumes it is the apartment itself recovering from the break-up rather than something more sinister.

Just as Kar Wai succeeds in welding two separate tales together and making it feel like one complete film, so he juxtaposes the sad melancholy of his characters with a dizzying portrait of Hong Kong life. Chungking Express opens with chase – Brigitte Lin is pursued through the busy streets by police, which Kar-Wai captures in blurred, jolting snapshots, the colours of the city swirling around her as she makes her escape. Elsewhere, there's a terrific shot as Cop 633 sits drinking coffee and moping at the snack bar, Faye gazing dreamily at him – they move in slow-motion while all around them the crowds whiz by at high speed. Most of the film is shot with handheld cameras, and supremely talented Hong Kong-based Englishman Christopher Doyle deserves much of the credit for the film's stylistic flourish; his work on Kar Wai's films and the likes of Hero and Infernal Affairs have established Doyle as one of the world's best cinematographers. The film also celebrates the island's cultural mix – there are Chinese, Japanese, English and Indian characters and the soundtrack is often a disorientating mix of languages.

Chungking Express is as chaotic and open-ended as the lives of its protagonists. There are no tidy resolutions (although both stories end on optimistic notes) and the director observes from a distance, sympathising but passing no judgements. Kar Wai has perhaps made more accomplished films since, but few as heartfelt.

Aka: Chong Qing Sen Lin
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 13281 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: