Wednesday, November 29, 2006

[1980] DON'T PLAY WITH FIRE: I'm still digesting this one. Like We're Going To Eat You, it eschews traditional narrative in favor of shifting points of view where you can never quite be sure who is the pursuer and who is the pursued--it changes constantly. In We're Going To Eat You almost everyone in the remote village was a cannibal; in Don't Play With Fire almost everyone in Hong Kong is a sociopath, or a potential sociopath. Almost everyone's guilty of something, and that's why almost everyone dies in the end. So it's certainly as nihilistic as advertised, but in an energetic, entertaining way somehow, with the usual Tsuian emphasis of visuals over narrative--or using the visuals to tell the narrative, I should say. I agree with the reviewer at Hong Kong Cinemagic that the movie loses a lot of steam once Pearl (Lin Chen Chi) dies--she was it's heart, alternately sympathetic and hateful, and even though after she dies there's twenty minutes of movie and a huge apocalyptic shootout to go it just isn't as much fun anymore. I'm having a tough time summarizing this thing--it's a lot of things at once, unsettling and amusing and depressing, without being self-contradictory and while maintaining a consistent tone. You really should check it out--I bought mine here.

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