- Published on Amazon.com
Having subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon Prime, etc., there are a lot of times when I just do a broad search and decide to watch something. I saw "Floating City" on Netflix, and for some reason (aside from wanting to watch a Hong Kong film), I decided to watch it. I'm VERY glad that I did. This is one of the best, most touching dramas I've seen since "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which I also watched for the first time not too long ago. Right after watching this film on Netflix, I ordered it on Amazon, and watched it again as soon as it arrived.
Even before having lived in Asia for several years and having gotten my degree in Asian Studies, I've loved Asian cinema since adolescence, especially films from Hong Kong and China. I find that Asian acting (style), particularly Japanese and Korean, can be very divergent from the Western style of acting, particularly in tv dramas; sometimes I do not like it, and frankly, sometimes I feel somewhat embarrassed, because the acceptable style there is what the West would see as "bad" acting. That said, I find that I like the acting in Hong Kong films the most, and this film did not disappoint. I would say that a great deal of the acting is strong, especially by the lead, Aaron Kwok. He made me feel the emotions of his character clearly, as did the different women who played his mother. The wife character was also pretty good, but sometimes she seemed a bit spastic. Most of the other characters did fine to passable, but Annie Liu was probably the worst. She was pretty, yes, and I got the role she was trying to play - rich, sexy, internationally-experienced, stylish, English-speaking young woman - but she overdid it almost most of the time. When I watched and listened to her, I felt like I was watching someone do an imitation of rich, flirtatous American Caucasian women from California. The problem is not that she was playing such a character, but that I could SEE her acting. She didn't seem like she actually WAS that character, unlike Aaron Kwok in his role. There was no subtlety; she was a blatant archetype, even a stereotype. So, in that way, she likely does reflect women like that somewhat, but it still seemed over the top. In fact, when she asked Bo Wah Cheun "Do you find me annoying?" I thought, "Yes!"
One other nitpick is the blue eyes, which most of the time you couldn't see clearly; sometimes, it looked like he just had regular brown eyes. Even a cheap, $20 pair of blue circle lenses could have looked more realistic, depending on the design/enlargement. I don't know if it was just that they didn't want to really emphasize the blue eyes TOO much by having them brighter, but that wouldn't really make sense considering how much of the story is tied to him being different for being "Mixed" and people noticing it right away. (Maybe they should have consulted Gackt and asked him where he gets his contacts.) When they first showed the baby, I thought to myself (because Netflix's description mentioned the blue eyes): "That baby doesn't have blue eyes." And he didn't. The budget may have been small to where they did not want to add that in digitally, but it just seemed...kind of important to leave out.
Another little nitpick is the subtitles, which had errors at a few points, and seemed to lack punctuation most of the time. As an editor, I notice these things more, but many people likely won't, so it's not too big a deal (the punctuation, not the spelling error[s]).
As a cinephile, when a movie can make me feel for the characters, to want them to achieve their goals, to worry for them, to be happy/sad for them, etc., it's mission accomplished. This movie did that throughout, and there are so many touching moments in this film that it brought tears on more than one occasion. This was my first Aaron Kwok film, but I doubt it will be my last. If you don't like films with good drama, likable characters, and character/plot development, then skip this film. If you want to see a film with all of that, then please watch it.