Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Blueberry Nights

My Blueberry Nights (Wong Kar Wai, 2008) [5]

Wong's English language debut isn't horrible but it feels so slight and unfocused that I just can't seem to recommend it. It feels too flatly acted, with a few exceptions, and without real focus of emotion that turns it into a disappointment of sorts. Seeing how I've been a huge fan of Wong's last two efforts, the film doesn't appear to be in the same category. Norah Jones plays Elizabeth, a restless young woman going through a troubling break-up that gives her opportunities to meet a variety of characters. Some reviews have stated that Jones can't act but she fills her role fine. Her character isn't really meant to be the tent pole of the film; she is more there to be acted upon by the other characters, rather than to carry the film on her own personality. All this leads to the greater problem is that none of these other characters, other than David Strathairn's performance, which grows on me even after, fall noticeably flat in any resonance. Strathairn's lovelorn drunk is the type of character that Jones's Lizzy yearns to be and the only one capable of capturing what Wong seems to want to get across through this story. Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Rachel Weisz are mainly forgettable in their performances. The plot itself follows the kind of interpretation of a cinematic America that can be found in Wim Wenders. I frankly prefer Wenders's version. While it may be a cinematic reality, Wong's film doesn't have enough of a grounding in something I can find in reality to make me care. In something like Paris, Texas, there is the payoff scene in the theatre. There's is nothing of that magnitude in My Blueberry Nights to make it that memorable.

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