My wife and I got different things from this movie, but we both
enjoyed it enough to be worth the time.
What struck me most vividly was the idea of just bravely taking
off to another country on little enough of a plan that running
out of money and being forced to survive like they do is even a
possibility. I don't know if that speaks more for the main
characters' love of life, or just their incompetence, but for me
it was a vividly portrayed and compelling case for the value of
the former. This might not have been a focus of the movie, and
I'm sure that for many people the grim conditions if anything
make the opposite case, but it really made me want to seize the
day, take off on a motorcycle and so on.
I think my wife was more affected by the love story. She grew up
in China with a moderately negative but mostly non-existent
awareness of homosexuality. Her reaction at the end of this
movie was that now she could much better understand the idea of
two men actually being in love with each other, just like anybody
else. I figure I got my money's worth just for that.
Now, as her husband, I do find it a little bit disturbing that
she finds such a screwed-up relationship so easy to relate to,
but it speaks well for the movie as tolerance propaganda.
The visual style didn't particularly speak to me. It was
occasionally intrusive, occasionally neat to look at, every once
in a while participated in the story-telling, and mostly I just
I spent much of the first half of the movie complaining to
myself that the director gives us no clue at all why these two
would want to be together, let alone as obsessively as they are.
Eventually, I accepted that the director's not incompetent, so if
he's not letting us know it's because he doesn't want to. Okay,
Kar-wai, whatever, man. I got along much better after I gave up