Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Bride with White Hair review

A war between an eight-clan alliance and an outcast evil cult begins. Lien (Brigitte Lin) and Cho (Leslie Cheung) are two lovers and opposing champion warriors of their respective sides caught in the middle of the chaos.

The Good?
Leslie Cheung and Brigitte Lin are the two biggest attractions. Cheung as an emotionally torn warrior manages to get us to love and hate him at the same time. Both actors in retrospect somehow tie in their expressionless disciplined characters with the emotional lover sides. Brigitte Lin brings an indescribable sadness to her character while maintaining her usual tough girl persona. They seamlessly portray the expressionless, disciplined sides of their characters when apart and the emotional, loving side when united.

The plot is paced well with equal focus to its very likable characters. It is easy to get invested in the story and the constant stream of problems make it quite intense.

Most of the action scenes are shot with a blurry, fuzzy composition to create a unique fantasy mood. Slower scenes are visually appealing in a subtle atmospheric way. The soundtrack, the camera, the combination of eccentric action with an over-the top romance montage, all contribute to a very particular melancholy mood that puts us right with the characters.

Bride manages to be incredibly weird with strange characters and twists, but never lapses into points of complete absurdity like other wu-xia.

The Bad?
The film fails to explain how Lin’s character falls in love with Cheung’s. Her character isn’t explored until later and no explanation is ever given. The hole is crucial at first and it takes some time to get over it, but the characters are so likeable that we can deal eventually. Still, the film has to try extra hard because the relationship feels a little empty at first.

The plot sounds cliché and overused, but it really isn’t an issue.


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