Stars at Noon

Stars at Noon ★★★

The correct creative team for this adaptation would have been Wong Kar-Wai and Christopher Boyle in their hey day, and in a way “Chung King Express” is a far superior translation of the stateless romanticism that’s practically incandescent in Denis Johnson’s original book. Director Claire Denis understands the lyricism of Johnson’s text but translates it so understatedly, and edits it so poorly, that the film frequently feels like it’s a lost version of itself, like an assembly cut made entirely of deleted scenes. In the end, the film is neither wholly successful nor wholly unsuccessful, but given how special the book was, that’s a failure.

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