Don’t forget to select your favorite films!
Trashy ‘90s thriller involving serial killers and virtual reality—in other words, un film de Brett Leonard. However, would argue that the real auteur here is production designer Nilo Rodis-Jamero, the former George Lucas associate who also designed Johnny Mnemonic. This is what old-school auteurists would call a William Cameron Menzies situation; Leonard’s direction is only as interesting as the garish designs and borderline-Expressionist sets he’s playing off of.
Outing myself here as one of those folks who thinks that Hou’s style didn’t come into its own until he switched to direct sound with A City Of Sadness. Still, the way this film teaches its viewer how to watch and experience it—continually returning to the same locations, re-framing objects so they develop a kind of oblique meaning through repetition, etc.—is master-class stuff.
P.S. The post-synced soundtrack and extensive use of daylight-compensating 45-degree shutters gives this a pronounced Italian neo-realist edge—an early, largely forgotten point of comparison for Western critics.
Suggested by Netflix algorithm based on 2-year-old's interest in Tugginta (Chuggington). Sorely lacking in too-too (trains), kwok (clocks), and tray (also train, sometimes tree). Rousing theme song contributed to viewer's later refusal to go to nigh-nigh (sleep, bed).