I'd like to start by saying that this showcase in particular is dedicated to MoviePilot creator charlottek who gave me the idea for this article with a particularly nice comment on one of my previous ones. I know that's a little self-indulgent, but if you read this, charlottek, consider this my token of gratitude.
I've seen this movie twice for two separate film classes. The first time I saw it, I didn't really appreciate it very much (to be fair, I came in halfway through the screening). But the second time...
In The Mood For Love
Directed by Wong Kar-Wai
"Written" by Wong Kar-Wai
This film from 2000 serves as the second part to a trilogy helmed by auteur Wong Kar-Wai (consisting of this movie, Days Of Being Wild and 2046) in which all installments are only connected thematically, telling stories of romance and intrigue in 1960s Hong Kong. It was released to universal critical acclaim, but I'm still going to call it underrated so I have an excuse to talk about it.
A man and a women that live in the same apartment building suspect that their respective spouses (who both work abroad) are having an affair with one another. As the two bond over the difficulty of coming to terms with their joint-suspicion, they also start to struggle with their feelings for one-another.
Why is it underrated?
Here's the thing; there was no screenplay for this movie. Wong Kar-Wai is a director that doesn't use scripts. Now, one would think that this would be a recipe for disaster, but Kar-Wai is such a phenomenally strong director to the point where every scene of this film feels calculated perfectly.
The movie has a relatively slow-pace, largely being a character study that likes to linger on its subjects. Time never feels wasted though because there is so much detail to the way in which this film is presented. The composition of each frame is so meticulous in how it communicates a story that is full of moral-ambiguity.
The two main cast members (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) do a fantastic job at displaying the conflict that their characters are going through. Their performances are rife with just as many subtleties as the frame composition. The method in which the plot is constructed constantly enforces the notion that these characters are forced into being reactionary characters and their reactions always feel human and realistic, making the characters that much more endearing as a result.
The cinematography is beautiful. There's such a brilliant use of warm-colours providing an inviting environment. The use of the colour red in particular leads to some visually striking and extremely compelling imagery. There is a stylised quality to this movie that's reminiscent of the noir-genre, adding further to this movie's charm. Aiding the beautiful visuals is the soundtrack, which helps build the warmth of each scene, particularly the use of Nat King Cole.
The fact that this script-less movie manages to communicate and follow through on so many complicated themes and ideas related to relationships and present a compelling romance that feels like it's being enacted by real people is a testament to the sheer vision of the director. This is a brilliant film, well-made in nearly every aspect. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas.
Thanks for reading.