My Blueberry Nights
"The main problem with My Blueberry Nights is that it comes off more like a WKW-wannabe movie."
- Mighty Peking Man
My Blueberry Nights (2008)
Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writer: Wong Kar Wai, Lawrence Block
Cast: Norah Jones, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman, David Strathairn, Cat Power
Running Time: 111 min.
Plot: Who knows?
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: A brokenhearted young woman named Elizabeth (Norah Jones) take a soul-searching trip across America. Along the way she befriends a series of characters with their own troubles: Jeremy (Jude Law), a lonely cafe owner with broken dreams; Arnie (David Strathairn), a lovesick drunk; Sue Lynne (Rachel Weisz), a confused woman who married too young; and Leslie (Natalie Portman), a high-rolling gambling addict.
Each encounter becomes a new lesson for Elizabeth. Not only is she influenced by who she meets, she also becomes a new person in the process.
My Blueberry Nights is notable for being Wong Kar Wai's first U.S. feature. As many know, WKW is one of Hong Kong's most respected art house filmmakers. Films like Chungking Express, In The Mood Mood For Love and Happy Together have brought him worldwide recognition and he is considered one of the best directors of our time...
So how's his first Hollywood outing?
Well, it ain't no Chungking Express. That's a given. It's definitely not In The Mood For Love. It's not even half of Fallen Angels.
The main problem with My Blueberry Nights is that it comes off more like a WKW-wannabe movie. You get the feeling - with each frame, with most of the characters and settings - that it was modeled after Chungking Express, his most loved and well known film in America. The guy is not dumb. If you're gonna emulate the essence of one of your films, why not go for the gold. The only problem is we all remember Chungking Express so vividly that it's easy to see he's applying the same ingredients to a weaker structure.
And all this philosophical object bullshit is just that... bullshit. Again, it worked with Chunking Express (stuffed animals, pineapple, rags, etc); but the whole key thing (you obviously won't know what I'm talking about until you see it) is so artificial and forced that it becomes what Bruce Li is to Bruce Lee: an imitation. And the whole film feels this way.
Most, if not all, the performances are okay, but the majority of the characters are uninteresting and boring. The only one you can really feel for is David Strathairn's role. With very little said, you seem to know the whole guy's deal. The others just come and go...
I don't mean to sound blunt, but WKW should stick to Chinese films and import the shit to us like he usually does. He comes up with great stuff that way... but more importantly, stop making a Bruce Li out of yourself.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 5/10 (you'll probably like it a lot more if you're not familiar with his work)