Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A partial review of MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS

Wong Kar Wai has made some great movies in the past, not least the pantheon film, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. His movies are known for their lavish attention to production design; beautiful women in stunning dresses and the mesmerising control of Christopher Doyle's cinematography. They also contain some out the great performances of Asian cinema, not least Tony Leung in IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and 2046. Sadly, MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS, his first English-language, American-set movie, is a travesty. In fact. I walked out of MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS after forty-five minutes. I had wanted to leave after ten minutes, but willed myself to keep sitting there, hoping that the movie would pick up. It didn't.

The problems are manifold. The script has no narrative drive; characters speak in banalities; Norah Jones, Rachel Weisz and David Strathairn over-act; one suspects that Norah Jones actually cannot act; Jude Law can't maintain a Northern English accent; Rachel Weisz can't do a Southern American accent; Darius Khondji's cinematography is deliberately stylised but looks cheap and amateurish (how many ways can you film someone through a window or reflected in glass, or shot from a CCTV camera?).....Net result: I had zero interest in continuing to watch Norah Jones' heartbroken waitress drifting through different bars, moping at various uninteresting characters.

Essentially, this is a movie that is badly written, badly acted and badly filmed.

MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS opened Cannes 2007 and was released in Canada, Finland, France, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Greece, China, Singapore and Estonia in 2007. It opened earlier in 2008 in Hong Kong, Latvia, Turkey, Russia, Switzerland and Bulgaria. It is currently on release in the UK and opens in March in South Korea, Colombia, Argentina, Italy, Brazil and Japan. Finally, it gets a limited release in the US on April 4th.

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