06 February 2008

Tears of the Black Tiger

A restless, meandering sort of film. It's a kind of pastiche of comic books, old westerns, 1950s melodrama and neon day-glo color, set to a Thai soundtrack. While visually, it's quite incredible, it ultimately fails to come together into a really compelling movie. There's something about the way it tries to balance a kind of playful parody with tragic love that doesn't quite work. While the hybridization of East/West is interesting, the movie just doesn't DO that much. For instance, you get a scene that looks like this:

It's two guys on a stage, with some wheat and a beautifully painted back-drop. It's shot as though someone were filming a play. Fairly standard stand-off, but you can't really get into it, because it's so awkwardly staged, but it's played entirely in earnest. What is one to make of it? Is it a parody? Is it an homage? It's difficult to really engage with the film emotionally at all, because the characters are such caricatures, but aesthetically, the film seems so advanced. It's a strange juxtaposition. You can't really take it seriously, but it doesn't seem to be a critique either, and you're not quite sure what the point of it is, so all you can really do is appreciate the striking colors and sort of dumbly watch it play itself out.

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