A Moment of Romance

A Moment of Romance ★★★★

The expressive aesthetics of Hong Kong's neon-soaked nighttime, along with the formal kinetics of the action set-pieces, expound the multitudes of emotion in this star-crossed lover's tale. A Moment of Romance traverses a familiar story of youth romance with beautiful balance, being both a smoldering romance and violent crime story that subverts genre classification in a way that beautifully elucidates its theme - the transcendental nature of love beyond the material world. Anchored by the familiar archetype of two lovers from different socio-economic environments, A Moment of Romance's aesthetic expressivity plays into this initial dichotomy between its two characters which they subsequently overcome as the film progresses. The expressive neons of Hong Kong, vibrant and dynamic, counterbalance the emotional reservations of these individuals early on about their budding romance. The sexual tension in these scenes is palpable yet internalized by these characters, with the neon lights serving as their underlying vibrancy which will eventually be freed from the strictures of expectations infused by their social environment. As these characters slowly recognize their attachment to one another, their social environments and those within them disrupt and agitate, leading to tragedy in a traditional sense. Yet, A Moment of Romance doesn't reside in traditional modes of love that lie solely in the material world. With A Moment of Romance, the strictures of milieu ultimately prove too coercive from that perspective but they fail to suppress the metaphysical realm in which love is irrepressible. Expressive and kinetic filmmaking one would expect from Johnnie To, who is rumored to be the primary creative force behind this film narratively and conceptually. Andy Lau is perhaps at is coolest in this film, which is saying something.

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