Tokyo Damage Report

review: in the mood for love

Written and Directed by Won-Kar Wai

– Tony Leung Chiu Wai as Chow Mo-wan
– Maggie Cheung as Mrs. Chan, nee Su Li-zhen
– Ping Lam Siu as Ah Ping

I read a  review of this film by a critic named Joshua Tanzer. He said,
"Wong Kar-Wai’s "In the Mood for Love" is no Hong Kong action pic it’s an anti-romance that puts a man and woman together and dares them to fall in love.

Is this a movie about two people who protect their dignity by resisting passion and remaining true to their marriage vows? Is it about the tragedy of a destined love denied by traditional moral rules?"
Here’s why:
Mr. Chow and his wife live move into Mr. Koo’s apartment.
Mrs. Chan and her husband move into Mrs. Suen’s apartment next door, on the same day.
Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan discover that their spouses are fucking each other off-screen, and have been for months.
The weirdest thing about this film is that Mr. Chow’s wife and Mrs. Chan’s husband never actually appear in the film. You never see their faces. This emphasizes the loneliness of Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan. Also, after Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan predictably fall in love, it makes you think of them as if they were TURNING INTO the missing Mrs. Chow and Mr. Chan. Which is an interesting film trick. But it’s also totally evil. Because Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan AREN’T the same as their evil spouses. They never kiss once!!
What the fuck is up with that? If you found out your husband was fucking around right under your nose, you’d either divorce him and jack all his shit, or you’d stab him (and the hiz-o too just on general principles), or you’d fuck the cable guy, or some shit!! But what do these two weird perverts do instead?? What’s the only possible solution to occur to them??
They just decide to go to dinner together and ‘see if we can figure out how our spouses fell in love with each other. How could such a thing happen?’

So therefore they wind up with the WORST OF BOTH POSSIBLE WORLDS: they don’t get to kiss because that would be immoral ("we won’t be like THEM." ). . .AND they don’t get to have revenge on their partners because they’ve come to understand how easy it is to fall in love with a married person, and they actually fucking EMPATHIZE with their cheating-asshole partners.
And this is all set in stone within the first half-hour of the movie.
So now I have to sit through 90 more minutes of these two spineless douchebags longingly gazing at each other, doing nothing about it, being miserable, while the invisible asshole spouses (whose fault this all is) are fucking like weasels in Tokyo.
I’m not a fan of Hong Kong shoot-em-ups, but midway through this film I was really hoping that Chow Yun-Fat would come in with some blazing glocks and liven things up. As it is, this film is so repressed that only Andrea Dworkin or Jesse Helms would enjoy it.
The worst part is, the director uses music, camera angles, and all that shit to make us look up to and sympathize with these two hideous nebbishes that really we’d never sympathize with in normal circumstances. Chow and Chan are NOT cool people, nor are they helpless victims of fate. They’re hideous wanna-be martyrs and time-wasting nebbishes!!! If they really think that cheating is so wrong, then they should get all righteous and change the locks on their front doors, and burn their spouse’s clothes, and cash out their joint bank accounts, and sell their spouse’s jewelry, and just get total extreme vengeance!!
Instead, Mrs. Chan rebuffs all Mr. Chow’s attempts to smooch. And then she cries like a bitch any time he tries to leave her.
This is a woman who clearly deserves everything she gets.
The director never has her actually EXPLAIN why she’s such a DUMB FUCK. She never actually says, ‘I won’t leave my husband because. . . ‘ or ‘I won’t neck with the nice Mr. Chow because. . . ‘ or even ‘I’m not a total loser because. . . ‘ And yet the director won’t let me hate her! he keeps pounding away at me with his camera angles and pacing and romantic music, and close-ups of her butt in tight dresses, as if this is supposed to justify her behavior. It’s so frustrating!! The film is very manipulative, not allowing me to feel any of the normal emotions you should have during a marriage breakdown: anger, hate, revenge, lust, despair. The only thing I’m allowed to feel is this ridiculous, oppressive muted melancholy. For 5 hours!!!
Eventually Chow can’t take anymore and bails to Singapore. And Mrs. Chan winds up pregnant and a single mom. And, presumably, their lying, cheating, unscrupulous, evil spouses are still in Japan fucking all the time and having big crazy fun.

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