Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Millennium Mambo review

Millennium Mambo tells the story of a beautiful Taiwanese woman named Vicky (Shu Qi) transitioning through her relationships. The film explains how she dropped out of school to live with Hau (Tuan Chun Hao) who ended up turning into a manipulative, jealous, lazy “leech.” We follow Vicky’s trouble with the antagonistic boyfriend as they constantly break up and get back together and her newfound acquaintance Jack (Jack Kao) who sympathizes and treats her nicely and respectfully. She works at a nightclub for both their sakes and eventually must decide if she is ready to break away and make any true changes in her life.

The Good?
Hou Hsiao-hsien and Mark Lee Ping-bin showcase their visual genius with gorgeous nightlife composition and meaningful mundane, static imagery to create another Chungking Express and What Time is it There in cinematography at least, for the new millennium

The film glorifies Shu Qi in everything from stunning slow-motion reflective scenes over a steady beat of electronica to subtle facial expression and acting. It forces you to fall in love with her

The trendy style is perfect and a wonder to behold on a big screen. Hou Hsiao-hsien knows precisely how to make us feel we are a part of this lifestyle with a very evocative and memorable tone.

The Bad?
The plot is unclear and unnecessarily complicated. The premise is simple, and thus requires filler, but it becomes a problem when that affects the main storyline.

Jack, her perfect guy, is too rushed in and has poor chemistry with the limited number of scenes he has with Vicky.

The characters are not particularly likeable nor memorable, leaving much to be desired from the film content-wise. It only shows an interesting perspective of Taiwanese youth culture, but there is a genre for that called the documentary.


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