For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
A disillusioned killer embarks on his last hit but first he has to overcome his affections for his cool, detached partner. Thinking it's dangerous and improper to become involved with a colleague, he sets out to find a surrogate for his affections. Against the sordid and surreal urban nightscape, he crosses path with a strange drifter looking for her mysterious ex-boyfriend and an amusing mute trying to get the world's attention in his own unconventional ways.
Sometimes "goodbye" really means "until we meet again."
For a follow-up to a film that in no way, shape, of form needed one, Fallen Angels not only admirably lives up to the pressure of being a sequel to Chungking Express, it manages to expand the themes of the previous two segments (putting all in a much clearer and distinct light), and does so in such a tonally and structurally different way that it's difficult to tell which is the stronger piece in the end. It's apples and oranges to compare the two, but they're in the same basket - if that makes any sense. Truth be told, I'd rather consider them a single film; Chungking Angels - a three hour…
Are you feeling a little down lately? A little lovelorn and a little lost? Is there a dull pain in the pit of your chest that just won't go away? If you have watched a Wong Kar-Wai movie recently, you may be experiencing a phenomenon known as Wong Withdrawal. Other such symptoms of Wong Withdrawal include but are not limited to:
1. An increased exposure to and fascination with a wide variety of groovy music
2. An intensified attraction to Asian women (I can vouch for this one. Whoa Nelly, do I got the Yellow Fever.)
3. Feeling like even more of a hopeless romantic than usual
4. An inexplicable desire to start smoking
5. Pretending like everything is in…
Did you ever have a first date, one that didn’t go badly, but didn't make your heart flutter? I’m sure you have. Despite that, have you ever gone onto a second date and completely fallen in love? I certainly never have ... in real life that is. In the imaginary world of Wong Kar Wai, I should have expected it. There have been more than a few Wong first dates I’ve gone on that were less than stellar, only to be won over completely by a subsequent rendezvous.
During my first Fallen Angels watch, I saw similarities to Chungking Express ( that I also didn’t fall in love with on first date ), but aside from a nod or two,…
Let it be known to all! In the wee hours of the morning, I watched my very first Wong Kar Wai film. It’s been a long time in the making, and I was in a daze and immediately went to Netflix to find a film to pull me out my stupor. After searching and searching with no good results, I happened across Fallen Angels. It was beckoning me in, and I took the bait. What I experienced next was one of the most expressionistic and unique cinematic experiences I have ever had. And at the time of writing this, I’m still having a hard time putting into words why I liked this film so much.
Fallen Angels tells a couple…
Beautiful and twisted, and a totally different film than In the Mood for the Love, The Grandmaster and even Chungking Express, it's spiritual sibling. Wong Kar Wai really is a versatile director, but in all of his films there's almost too much to look at, as there's always something going, tons of vibrant colours and a lively camera. He really is one of cinema's most powerful auteurs.
Fallen Angels is, to put it mildly, a feast for the eyes and ears all the way through. For me the trick to enjoying the film lies in the numerous emotions and feelings one gets out of the experience rather than plot or character development. It's more about soaking in what…
The first time I saw this, I gave it 2/5 stars. Now it is my favorite of all of Wong Kar-Wai's films! It's about misfits - people living on the fringes of society, searching for connections to other people and mostly coming up short. There is basically no plot, even less so than its predecessor Chungking Express. It's just a bunch of people doing things that are silly, heartbreaking, difficult to watch, morally reprehensible… but always human. The visuals in this film are absolutely amazing, even more so than some of his other successful films. Fallen Angels may not be the best that Wong Kar-Wai put forth during his career (I think that honor goes to In the Mood for Love), but it is certainly my personal favorite. Highly recommended!
* written assignment for the class "Film history after 1990", taught by professor Richard Peña at Columbia University.
A distorted puzzle
by Fábio Andrade
In the very last scene of Wong Kar-wai’s Fallen Angels, the killer’s agent (Michelle Reis) says a couple of the film’s most memorable and transparent lines: “The road home isn’t very long, and I know I’ll be getting off soon. But at this moment, I’m feeling such warmth”. The camera pans up from the moving motorcycle following the cloud of smoke coming from He Zhiwu’s (Takeshi Kaneshiro) cigarette and shows a brief view of the city skyline before fading to black and to the end credits, saving that motorcycle trip from its inevitable end.
Fallen Angels was originally conceived as a third part of Chungking Express but was cut out and became a standalone movie. This explains why Fallen Angels has such a B-side feel to it. It has a similar structure as two story-lines run parallel and boasts the same pop style that wouldn't have been amiss on MTV back in its heyday. However, Fallen Angels is a little more reliant on these extravagant visuals and less so on the feelings that gave Chungking Express both its longing and its joy de vivre - the things that really make it such a masterpiece. Nevertheless, when your visuals are created by the unrivalled tag-team of Wong Kar Wai and Christopher Doyle you can't be so disappointed overall. Their frenzied, hyper-stylised and neon-lit vision makes Fallen Angels look absolutely outstanding.
Fallen Angels looks and feels like a darker, stranger companion piece to Chungking Express. It may not be as warm and inviting as Kar-Wai's previous film but it's excellent nonetheless and visually more impressive than Chungking Express.
For whatever reason, this didn't strike me in the same way that Chungking Express did, despite being every bit as good, if not better, technically. Again, the film is split into two interwoven stories, which share the same themes. The characters are wonderfully created, if not a little too over-the-top in an otherwise matter-of-fact film. Visually, this film is brilliant, with some excellent camera work ranging from black and white scenes, time lapse, slow motion and a more blurry effect, as well as those close-ups; often focused on a cigarette. This is all underpinned by the beautiful bustle Asian setting that envelopes the story so well. I think this is a film I just need time to fall in love with more.
Once again Wong Kar-Wai captures the insane energy and atmosphere of Hong Kong beautifully. Compared to Chungking Express, the energy is ramped up to absurd degrees. All in all, this is a movie that can be mostly described as "irreverent". Incredibly wacky and violent moments here and there.
Overall, I felt less emotional investment in this film compared to his other works. Comparing it directly to Chungking Express, I felt less here for all but one of the main characters. I felt like Chungking expressed the feelings of lost love in a much more subtle, unique, economical and coherent way. I simply felt much more emotional resonance from that experience. I felt like it had more depth and had a…
Seemingly a series of loosely connected events with varying plot lines, Fallen Angels is something of a (very 1990s) look into lonerism. Wong Kar-Wai is probably most famous for how his movies are shot and that is definitely on showcase here. Every shot seems to be precisely strange as to give an insight into equally strange people.
The romances are odd, suitably, and I always think that odd romance is more beautiful than the storybook kind because being surprised or taken for a weird journey to find someone or something that may not exist is better than a happy but expected outcome.
"What's he doing?"
What a bunch of wackos.
Stylish and chaotic. I consider it very much a spiritual sequel to Chungking Express, in terms of atmosphere, directorial style, setting and characterization. At one point looking back I actually liked it more than the former, enjoying the existentialist crises experienced by all of the characters. But it's not perfect, and Express is perfect.
Talk about sensory overload. Nostalgically romantic pseudo-gangster flick for the MTV generation? Too cool.
Certainly funnier, and perhaps even sadder than Chungking Express though it lacks the natural energy and flow of things. Fallen Angels is left sparse, with flashy imagery and vérité type camerawork used as an overly-stylistic crutch, which I can't say is always a bad thing. Its a great film to look at, which is typical of the Wong/Doyle dynamic here, but when the film starts to get too reliant on crazy visuals, it looses that touch of magic that the voice-over and dialog in Kar-wai's films are known to spark up.
Wong's signature characterization is also weak in comparison to the film's predecessor(not to say that…
Apologies for the rather clumsy and drab title, I was going to call it Pure Cinema but that isn't quite…