Chungking Express

Though not as emotionally satisfying as Happy Together, Chungking Express is still a giddy and energetic movie in its own right, telling two distinct stories both of which pivot around a bustling Hong Kong lunch counter. Both stories are about cops, each of whom has been dumped by his respective girlfriend and now wants to forget about her and move on. The first story, in my opinion, follows its whimsical, wistful hero as he slurps through nearly-expired cans of pineapples (his ex-girlfriend’s favorite fruit) in a symbolic effort to forget her. He subsequently falls in love with a mystery woman–presumably a drug trafficker and criminal. The second story involves a spunky and spirited girl who, through her variously eccentric ways, tries to get a gloomy cop to forget about the airline stewardess who’s just dumped him, and make him fall in love with her instead. Though these stories aren’t particularly deep, I love Wong Kar Wai’s cinematic exuberance–it’s clear from just watching his films that the guy loves making them. Not only that, he takes a genuine interest in human beings, in trying to understand them for all their ridiculousness. Kar Wai masterfully commits to celluloid the textures and moods of Chungking Express’ urban milieu. He gives us a pair of not-entirely-successful romantic stories but, fuelled by his cinematic fervor and exuberant use of music (another Wong Kar Wai trademark), it’s irresistible.

Grade: B

Directed by: Wong Kar Wai
Written by: Wong Kar Wai
Cast: Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung, Faye Wong, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Valerie Chow

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