Film Review: I Come with the Rain (2008)

I Come with the… PAIN!!!

by Ender’s Girl

PhotobucketPhotobucket

The Cast:
Josh Hartnett, Lee Byung-hun, Kimura Takuya, Shawn Yue, Trần Nữ Yên Khê, Elias Koteas

Written and directed by Tran Anh Hung / Central Films, 2008

In a Nutshell:
Kline, an ex-L.A. cop turned PI, is hired by a reclusive Asian tycoon to track down his missing son Shitao. While on assignment, a fresh lead takes Kline from the mountain hinterlands of the southern Philippines to the backstreets and fringes of Hong Kong, where he seeks the help of Meng Zi, an old acquaintance from his law enforcement days. But the tortuous trail that leads to the elusive Shitao unexpectedly intersects with three other characters: the sadistic crime boss Dong-po, his heroin-addicted girlfriend Lili, and the dead serial killer Hasford, who continues to haunt the already fraying Kline through dreams of his gruesome murders.

(SpoilLert: There Will Be Blood!!!)

They say that pain is beauty, and beauty pain… or something like that. Such is the central thesis of French-Vietnamese auteur Tran Anh Hung’s latest art house oeuvre, the psychological thriller I Come with the Rain. This dualism between pain and beauty is not lost on the viewer as the first scene unfolds: a flashback showing then detective Kline’s (Josh Hartnett) final face-off with Hasford (Elias Koteas), the serial killer and self-styled artist he has overzealously hunted (and studied) for 27 months. Surrounded by Hasford’s grotesque installation sculptures — made even more grotesque by the fact that he uses, um, actual body parts of his victims, eew — Kline gets bludgeoned, then bitten by a lugubrious Hasford, who views his macabre “masterpieces” as objects of artistic — and even spiritual — fervor.

Photobucket

Suffering as a religious experience, creating beauty from butchery, the agony and the ecstasy of living in this world — these are the main themes that I Come with the Rain gorges on, then later spews up on the viewer with as much subtlety and finesse as the hammer blows that the crime boss Dong-po (Lee Byung-hun) rains on a henchman who has failed him at one point in the story. The path that this film takes you on is a veritable via dolorosa where every turn, every corner is an exercise in the glorification of Pain in all its incarnations — the pain of dismembering victims for a psycho-artist’s portfolio, the pain of drug addiction and withdrawal, the pain of manifesting spontaneous lacerations and other stigmata while absorbing the suffering of others, the pain of a mind still tormented by grisly memories of the past. But as a viewer you wonder which is a more excruciating experience: the traumatic throes the main characters undergo, or having to sit through all 115 minutes while battling apathy and insensibility. Hasford tells Kline at the start of the story: “Jesus is in agony… till the end of the world.” Um, I beg to disagree. It’s the viewer who’s in mind-numbing agony until the end of this film — and how! (Lol)

Photobucket

Tran Anh Hung’s obsession with pain seems matched only by his overindulgence in iconoclasm, but the subversive messianic parallelisms in ICWTR are as ham-fisted as they are gratuitous. And not to mention, oh-so-stupendously unoriginal. *roll eyes* Shitao (Kimura Takuya) is obviously some kind of Christ figure, with a matching profile to boot: invisible but all-powerful father (check!), ability to heal the sick and the dying (check!), itinerant lifestyle (check!), empathy with the suffering of society’s lepers (check!), and self-resurrecting powers (check!). But the messiah analogy fails at the most basal level because in Christian theology, there’s a real purpose behind the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, being the crux (pun intended) of a greater redemption plan for humanity. In ICWTR, the pain that Shitao is subjected to is so pointless, so unavailing, ringing hollow from the lack of any compelling purpose behind it. We never even get to know WHO Shitao is as a person: Why is he alienated from his father? How did he acquire his empathetic powers? Why did he choose to live among the rural poor in Mindanao, then later among the urban derelicts in Hong Kong? And most importantly, how does his (self-perceived) messianic calling change him in the end? You never know because Shitao isn’t a real person, he’s just another trope in the film.

Photobucket

You can’t even say that the suffering fixation serves to advance plot and character development, because it doesn’t. There isn’t a single thing about this film that feels organic — which is ironic considering you can’t get any more primal and stripped-down than pain and blood and masticated flesh. The human suffering bombarding the viewer in almost every scene just feels put-on, and succeeds only in asphyxiating rather than accentuating the narrative flow. It’s as if Tran (as both writer and director), in his eagerness to inject stylized images of anguish through provocative scene rendering and overwrought acting, somehow lost sight of the cardinal purpose of any good film, which is to tell an engaging and coherent story — and ICWTR fails to tell even a decent one. Although the main narrative thread — Kline tracks down Shitao with Meng Zi’s help — is easy enough to follow, it’s the dots in-between that fail to connect.

Early in the film, Kline mulls over Shitao’s whereabouts in a strip joint in Mindanao, but the scene serves no real purpose except to deliver some gratuitous… nudity, oh wow! (But — nudie shots are the sine qua non of art films!!! But — of course! What a cultural philistine I am!!! Doh.) It’s actually funny how a flea-bitten hole in the wall in some remote mountain hamlet in Mindanao could afford not six, not seven, but eight nubile dancing girls feeling each other up, oh wow! And I thought places like these featured only one sad, aging stripper who also doubled as the cashier or something. Doh!

Photobucket

When the trail goes cold in Mindanao, Kline receives a tip from Shitao’s dad that his son just might be in Hong Kong because someone anonymously left flowers at the grave of the billionaire’s parents. And since it wasn’t Daddy Dearest or his sister who left the flowers, it obviously had to be Shitao, right? Right? *sigh* And when Kline enlists the help of his former colleague Meng Zi (Shawn Yue) of the Hong Kong police force, why doesn’t he accost Shitao upon seeing him at the precinct? The camera belabors the shot of Kline getting a good look at Shitao while clutching a bunch of his photos, but for some reason Kline never bothers to verify the identity of the disheveled man in the yellow raincoat — which is funny given the 39.7 minutes later in the film, showing Kline combing the back alleys of Hong Kong searching futilely for his quarry, lol. And it isn’t even clear what Shitao was doing at the police station to begin with. Was he apprehended for vagrancy? Or did he turn himself in? And if so, for what reason? *sigh*

PhotobucketPhotobucket

Josh Hartnett has the most scenes in this movie, and lends his role all the squinty-eyed, gravelly-voiced, ruggedly sexy goodness he can summon. Kline is the most developed character in the film, but even then you soon feel desensitized to all that twisting and turning and thrashing he does in his bed (and bedroom/living room/kitchen floor) while hallucinating over the dead Hasford. You can see how the Hasford case is triggering Kline’s Asian Meltdown while in the middle of his new one, but you… don’t really care about him or what he’s going through. There’s nothing about the character that makes you want to. Same goes for Shawn Yue, who was marvelous in the Infernal Affairs trilogy, but whose obvious difficulty with the cadences of English makes it hard for both him and the viewer to connect emotionally to the character, even when Meng Zi later survives an underworld attempt on his life that takes him off the Shitao/Dong-po case. (And that scene involving his lady friend and a 9-mm bullet was just so WTF-random, lol).

Photobucket

As Shitao, Kimura Takuya is given an insubstantial role to begin with, a character requiring no more from the actor than the constant writhing and whimpering and widening of his eyes while absorbing the pain of others. And that’s exactly what Kimura brings to the table — no more, no less. He fails to transcend the limitations of his character — unlike Lee Byung-hun, who brings an extra dimension of ruthless potency to an otherwise thinly written role. Dong-po the mobster is nowhere a fraction of a fraction as meaty as the complex men that Lee Byung-hun has portrayed in — say, the films Joint Security Area (2000), Bungee Jumping of Their Own (2001) and A Bittersweet Life (2005), or even the 2001 drama Beautiful Days, but at least the actor makes the Dong-po role his own. Which is too bad, because you can just feel Lee Byung-hun straining at the leash to bring multi-dimensionality to a one-note character. Still, at times I wished I were sitting through 2008’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird instead, where Lee Byung-hun’s guyliner-wearing gunslinger character, though not as substantial as his other roles, was at least wickedly sexy and fiendishly fun to watch.

PhotobucketPhotobucket

We don’t know much about Dong-po except that he’s this brutally possessive monster whose hunt for his girlfriend Lili (who, on the night of her abduction, ends up in Shitao’s Wayside Rehab for Heroin Addicts) causes Dong-po to cross paths — and swords, er guns — with Kline and Meng Zi. The only scenes from the entire movie that really made an impression on me were the ones involving Dong-po (big surprise, duh), particularly the scene where his disgruntled underling seizes Lili (Trần Nữ Yên Khê) in her red velvety boudoir. Transfixed by the gun his renegade henchman is pointing at Lili’s skull, Lee Byung-hun’s face registers stark terror and indecision, and at this point you believe his character loves Lili beyond anything else in the world. Towards the end of the movie, Lili comes home from Shitao’s Hobo Rehab and Dong-po finds her out on the balcony. At first he thinks she’s just a vision created by his stressed-out mind, but when the realization kicks in that it’s really her in the flesh, the look on his face as he crosses the room to yank her into a fierce embrace — wow. (But, um… it’s kind of funny that the first thing Lilli does upon coming home is to preen on Dong-po’s balcony — without so much as a honey-I’m-baaaack holler. You’d think that after leaving Shitao she’d call Dong-po from the nearest phone booth and order a ride home ASAP, lol.)

Photobucket

And Lili, Lili, oh Lili. Tran Anh Hung’s Muse (and oh yeah, his wife, too) mugs for the camera with the almost comical desperation of a washed-up starlet. She definitely wins the award for Hammiest Writher, standing out in a cast that loves to, um, writhe. Literally all of Lili’s scenes show her in diaphanous negligees, the gossamer folds so artfully parted to reveal her long, tanned limbs and… undies, oh wow. It boggles the mind how Trần Nữ Yên Khê’s overdone style could be condoned by the director… oh that’s right, I keep forgetting she’s his wife. Doh! And for all the time that Lili spends in Shitao’s Shack of Empathy, you’re never convinced that she forms a strong enough attachment to this weird, grubby (not to mention inarticulate) little vagrant who magically makes all her boo-boos (and drug dependence) go away. I mean, ALL he ever does is douse her with cold water and then wrestle her to the mattress while they both moan piteously (she from the withdrawal, he from imbibing her pain), and all she ever does is throw hissy fits while showing him her undies, and all they ever do together is engage in bizarre spooning on his soiled mattress.

Photobucket

So when the newly detoxified Lili goes back to Dong-po’s much, much cleaner digs, you definitely get why she’d do that. But to go back to Shitao? There was never any believable bond between them, enough to make her ditch that scary gangsta boyfriend and (literally) shack up with Shitao the Hobo Man. WHY do it, Lili? And when she finds him doing his Thang again — you know, healing all of Hong Kong’s sick and dying vagrants who have suddenly converged outside his hovel — so now she’s suddenly in love with him and tries to make his boo-boos go away? Great! And by golly, why Shitao and Lili stay put in their love nest instead of skipping town, is beyooooond me. It ain’t like they disappeared into the wilds of Darkest Africa, never to be seen again. Shitao’s shack was just a few kilometers from the city proper, and a stone’s throw from the effin’ road, for Pete’s sake. You know — the same road where Lili parked her swanky sports car? So much for going into hiding and all that. So when the two lovebirds wake up one morning to the cold barrel of Dong-po’s gun, all you can do is roll your eyes and say, “Oh great. They were just begging for it.”

Photobucket

The whole Dong-po-makes-Shitao-eat-sh*t scene is just a pretext for the movie’s Final Shocking Moment, which is — tadaa! — the crucifixion of Shitao. Of course. He already got himself resurrected in some cave in Mindanao, so might as well nail him to a wooden plank for the complete Jesus experience, right? I watched this movie with my best friend, and we were laughing the whole time Kimura delivered his lines in this scene — which happened to contain 95% of his dialogue in the entire film. When Shitao tells Dong-po in his hut, “Don’t be afraid of me… Don’t be brinded by fear…” hahahahaha that SO cracked us up! Then later, when a lackey (literally) nails home Dong-po’s parting lesson (not knowing the tramp is… um, like, immortal and stuff?), Shitao goes, “Don’t hurt me anymore… I beg of you… I’m frightened!” And we could not stop laughing at how much Kimura sounded like — Gollum! LMAO!!!

Photobucket

(Although in fairness to Kimura, the all-English dialogue was a major pitfall of the film, not to mention a Really Bad Idea. Of the Asian actors, only Lee Byung-hun spoke in perfect, if mildly accented English. The rest of the cast clearly struggled with their lines, and it was obvious they had only memorized without fully comprehending their dialogue. Even the scenes where it would’ve been more believable to converse in Cantonese (like those scenes involving Hong Kong residents) — Tran just had to insist they deliver their lines in labored English. So it wasn’t just Kimura who sounded funny.)

Photobucket

I never would’ve watched ICWTR if not for Kimura, but after seeing the film I found myself really wishing he had never taken on this project, despite the gloss of Tran’s indie-auteur rep, despite the international cast, despite the “neo-noir” tag (whatever that means) attached to the film. You’d be willing to forgive this overblown, self-important mess if it were something a 20-year-old film major submitted to his local village film fest, but given Tran’s experience and standing in the indie circuit, the weak narrative of ICWTR, awash with metaphors and histrionics, is simply indefensible. It doesn’t even have the same entertainment value as, say, some mindless slasher flick that doesn’t put on any airs about the murder and mayhem it peddles. The violence in ICWTR tries to be artsy… and it’s artsy all right: artsy tedium. (Although come to think of it, the cinematography isn’t even the lush visual feast I was expecting. The shots are passably appealing, but nothing special.)

PhotobucketPhotobucket

And now for the question of greatest consequence: Who comes with the rain? Hahaha. My money’s on the perpetually-raised-from-the-dead Shitao (the rain metaphor is often used as a cleansing, renewing force in literature and film). But you’ll be kept guessing because Tran Anh Hung never makes it clear in his film. Besides, the actual rain only comes in one scene, when a newly resurrected Shitao crawls out of his cave, maggots, centipedes, self-healed gunshot wounds and whatnot adorning his body. It’s ironic that for a film drowning in visual symbolism, it’s this title image — the rain — that we see far too little of. And trust me, halfway through this movie you’ll find yourself yearning for the rain — not a light shower, but a frickin’ downpour — to wash away the senseless gore, the stilted English dialogue and dramatic tableaux, and the one-too-many scenes of gratuitous writhing that supersaturate this piece of filmmaking. I Come with the Rain is really grindhouse fare riding on art house pretensions, and you’re never quite sure if it’s a movie suffused with a pointlessness so torturous, or a torturous experience so… pointless. But by the time the credits start rolling, you realize you’re way, way, way past caring, and only too glad to be put out of your misery.

Grade
Artistic & technical merit: D
Entertainment value: F
Overall: F

***

Photo credits: asiae.co.kr, beppin14.livejournal.com, beyondhollywood.com, japantimes.co.jp, nipponcinema.com, sharingcenter.net, soompi.com, vo2ov.com

Explore posts in the same categories: Asian Cinema (not K or J), FAIL Kimura, Serious Film Actor Kimura, The Kimura Project

Tags: , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

27 Comments on “Film Review: I Come with the Rain (2008)”

  1. Annielicious14 Says:

    Wow! you were thorough!!! I want to disagree with you but can’t in all honesty …….

    I was actually pleasantly surprised by Lee Byung-Hun, there were moments when I thought mmmm there is more to this guy! I had actually liked him in GI Joe.

    Another surprise for me also …. and as you mentioned – that there weren’t subtitles, which I totally expected – but hey!!!!

    I did find it slow ….. got lost a few times … understood a bit about who kimura was supposed to be but it was still confusing at times …

    Overall I’d give the acting abilities a bit more credit…..as I found that every now and then I was really interested! tee hee

    I actually want to see Byung-Hun’s other movies now. He was memorable!

    Thanks for your thoughts on ICWTR.

    So my reason for watching this film….I’m a big Josh Hartnett fan ….

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Well, thanks for sharing your thoughts on my thoughts!😀

      Wow, I can’t remember the last Josh Hartnett movie that I saw and liked… Black Hawk Down, prolly.😄 But at least his next two projects sound interesting, especially Bunraku (which also stars the J-Rock dude, Gackt).🙂

      Oh, Lee Byung-hun will not disappoint, no matter what film or drama you watch him in. If you’re looking for a fast-paced and entertaining ride (literally), The Good, the Bad, the Weird should do the trick. If you want more gravitas, Joint Security Area and A Bittersweet Life will deliver that — and more. Oh, and Harmonium in My Memory is a charming love story with amazing performances from the cast.😉

      Er, I’m not sure if you’re coming into this as a Hartnett AND Kimura fan, or just a Hartnett fan (because you’re not that much into Asian drama/film?). Because ICWTR is obviously not Kimura at his best. Trust me, he’s usually much better (and smexier!) than this… Y___Y

      • Annielicious14 Says:

        Ender’s Girl I’m totally coming as a huge Josh Hartnett Fan ….. have seen everything he’s done! Did’nt like everything but saw them all. I am really looking forward to Bunraku and Gun Slinger.

        I have never seen Kimura , but had seen Lee Byung-hun in GI Joe and thought he needed a bigger part! loved him. I usually watch Kung Fu Movies and such! I love them….. I have seen a few Asian drama films, but can’t tell you who stared. (have i mentioned that Anime is my passion?) I have actually been crushing on Takeshi Kaneshiro since House of flying daggers…and loved him in Red Cliff… But I will watch all types of movies as long as they hold my interest – but I will check out your recommentations for Byung-Hun.

        Actually I felt really bad for Kimura’s character …. but didn’t get to the crying point as I got confused at the end! like you said… tee hee. I’ve been reading up on Gackt, so I’ll better understand where he’s coming from …… did the same for Rain before watching Ninja Assassin ….

        • Ender's Girl Says:

          I’m not really a Josh Hartnett fan, but he does have that quality that makes you want to root for the guy.😉 I actually found myself wishing he had lived in Pearl Harbor instead of Ben Affleck, heh.

          Ooooh, Takeshi Kaneshiro is hot stuff, baby!😀 His face is perfection… no, it’s better than perfection, lol.

          Lol, yeah I was riveted to Byung-hun’s character in G.I. Joe. Didn’t care for the rest of the movie, blech. But I was pleasantly surprised he was given that much screen time. I was expecting like 3.5 sec because of so many characters in the story mugging for screen time. It’s also cool of you to be doing a background check of the Asian stars doing Hollywood crossovers. I’m not really a J-Rock or Gackt fan, but I’m very fond of Bi (Rain) from his acting work. He can move/sing real good, too. He’s like the Justin Timberlake of Korea, haha. And he’s been touted as the first truly pan-Asian star because of his immense popularity in the region.

          I think I felt sorry more for Kimura the actor than for the character, because I’ve seen what he’s capable of.😀 He’s more of a TV drama star than a movie star, though. In case you want to see him at his cutest/hottest, the drama Pride won’t disappoint. Ice hockey + romance = w00000t!😀

          You’re a huge anime fan, kewl!!! Have you seen the 2004 Ghibli film Howl’s Moving Castle? Kimura did the voice of the Wizard Howl. (soooo sexeh XD) Lee Byung-hun also voice-acted in the 2002 Korean animated film, My Beautiful Girl, Mari. Surreal but lovely little movie.

          Oh, and just in case you haven’t seen this, I’m linking a clip of Josh Hartnett and Lee Byung-hun’s ICWTR promo guesting in a segment of Kimura’s boy band’s (yes, Virginia, he’s part of a boy band, lol) weekly variety show, SMAPxSMAP. (Because their boy band is called, um, SMAP.) Kimura opens the segment and introduces Josh and Byung-hun, and the whole skit is about the guests getting their palms read by the show’s resident fortune teller, played by Shingo, another SMAP member. It’s pretty hilarious, ‘coz at first Josh is a bit freaked out by Shingo’s shenanigans, but he’s very game, so the whole thing is very entertaining. Byung-hun’s guested on the show before so he totally gets the whole Japanese TV humor vibe. Anyway, enjoy the clip.😀

          I Come with the Rain promo segment on SMAPxSMAP, 8 June 2009

      • Daine Says:

        Thanks for the Lee Byung-hun recommendations! Though from your review, I think this particular film is going at the bottom of the list. I am interviewing him on Saturday when he does his hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and I was hoping to brush up on some of his works beforehand. I’m a huge kdrama fan but just discovered my obsession last year so I have a lot of catching up to do.

        And thanks to you, I’m also a jdorama fan now! My first jdorama was Pride, after reading your review. Love it and love Kimutaku. I know you must be super busy in your real life but please keep writing! You truly have an amazing gift with words🙂.


  2. Annielicious14 – I was also surprised by Byung-Hun in this film, I’m sure many people were though

    • Annielicious14 Says:

      And he did so much with what he was given. The part that actually moved me was when he was nailing Kimura character to the board … and they spoke …… his expressions said so much … I actually started to feel for him…weird i know…

  3. jicks Says:

    lol I Come With The…PAIN!!! -Absolutely agree. We totally share the same sentiments! You are so right, by the time the closing credits came around, I was just relieved that it was all over. This makes my list of most painful cinematic experiences (in the same realm as The DaVinci Code. And also, *hides face in shame* the Scary Movie series- the things you go to do w/ your friends sometimes ><")

    I really love your review! The detail you went into w/ all the elements that made up the "movie" was all spot on (or at least, they resonate my feelings too) lol @ all the writhing. Now that you mention it, it's freaking obviously true. Oh Lilli, underwear as outerwear fashion is sooooo yesterday woman.

    And w/ Shawn Yue, it was def a case of "Please, just don't open your mouth" for me xDD

    Sometimes I do wonder, but I don't really know if changing the dialect would've saved this Rainm at all. I don’t know if you’ve seen Korean director Kim Ki Duk’s Bi Mong starring Lee Na Young & Odagiri Joe but in the film, Joe is the only dude who speaks in Japanese. And for me, it too failed. Sometimes I guess genius directors just have moments where they lose their focus.

    P.S. (!!!) While you were checking out LBH in Good Bad Werid, I was perving on Jung Woo Sung xDD This is an example of good-looks making up for a movie that didn’t live up to expectation either.

    Maybe I am just difficult to impress these days ^^;;

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Hontouni, ICWTR = Da Vinci Code? hahahaha (the book was just mindless fun, but the movie… wasn’t even fun)

      jicks, you’ve seen Tran’s other films, right? So was La Wifey equally hammy in those, too? X__O

      You’re right, making the dialogue less Engrishy (and more… international! lol) wouldn’t have saved this movie. (But it would’ve made the whole ordeal less giggle-inducing, haha.) LOLZ @ “Please, just don’t open your mouth” 😀 (I’m sure Shawn Yue’s Infernal Affairs contemporary, Edison Chen, would’ve done a much better job ‘coz he was born in Canada. Too bad he is no longer with us… *takes a moment* >D)

      No, I haven’t watched Bi Mong, though I vaguely recall my best friend telling me about it. I love Lee Na-young, she’s SO cute and quirky! Odagiri Joe I’m just so mehhh about… prolly from seeing him in Shinobi, where he starred with Nakama Yukie. Man, that movie had negative character development and all they did was kill each other and as they died one by one I got progressively more optimistic that the end was nigh. Blerg. Odagiri Joe. Blerg. @___@

      ZOMG Jung Woo-sung was SOOOOOO CUUUUUUUUTE in Good Bad Weird!!!!!!!! (Actually, he’s cute, period. And hot. Despite that perpetual porn stash… Or maybe because of it? haha) I had a major major major crush on JWS circa mid-2000s, after seeing A Moment to Remember (*remembers AMTR and sobs into hands*). Anyway, you’re SO right about Good Bad Weird, it was just one protracted train chase sequence through the Manchu desert. But I was just so happy to see JWS/LBH/SKH have fun on that blasted train.😀

      “Maybe I am just difficult to impress these days ^^;;” – haha. Either our taste really is improving, or it’s just a sign of old age or sumthin’. X______X

      • jicks Says:

        lmao “hammy”
        I’ve only seen Papaya & Cyclo, (haven’t, for some stupid reason, seen Vertical Ray Of The Sun), albeit quite a number of years ago ^^;;

        I def remember “La Wifey” (lol) wearing clothes in Papaya but in Cyclo, she plays a prostitute, so you do the math.

        But at least her pimp was Tony Leung xDD

        P.S. That Daiba no Haha vid you posted- I never thought I could laugh so hard. Shingo is hilarious ^O^;

  4. Nenior-chan Says:

    Like most of you, i was really upset by this movis, even if i waiting this from long time !!
    In first i watch for Kimura, and Lee byung-hun, and i pass a large part of the movies, it’s really dark and without really reflection, it’s just free !
    This film is the worst i can see this pass years, and it’s a shame because all these actors are really talented (in other film !!)
    It’s something they have to bury for keep there great career !!
    I’m glad to find some people whose doesn’t like this movie.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      You mean, there are people out there who actually liked this movie? Lol, and I thought we were in the majority…😀

      You’re right, the main actors have done much better work in their other films/dramas, so… (to quote the judges on American Idol) ICWTR was definitely “two steps in the wrong direction” for Messrs. Hartnett, Lee, and Kimura, heh.😄

  5. aian Says:

    I don’t know, I had mixed ideas about this movie…I agree with a lot about what you said, but I felt that the plot was followable (with the exception of some really strange & random scenes)… I guess I’m just good at subconsciously filling in plot holes? Haha.

    I too, agree, that Lee was such a standout in the movie (though Kimura’s English would not have been “as bad” had he not had Lee as a scene partner XD) and I really want to see him in more things. All of the actors are so great in other things… It’s a shame, though, because I was really looking forward to ICWtR and it turned out…that way.

    I remember a while ago when SMAP was on a show (Utaban, I think?) and Kimura talked about why he signed up for this movie. Now, my memory is not crystal clear, but I seem to recall Kimura saying that one night he got a call from his manager asking him whether he was going to ‘do it or not?’ “Do what?” he asked. “A movie,” was the response, and Kimura was surprised. The manager sent him one of Tran’s movies (The Scent of the Green Papaya) and he watched it, that being all he had to go on to decide. Supposedly he didn’t have much of a synopsis of the movie, let alone the script, but he found Tran’s style to be quite interesting, so he agreed. At least, that’s the story I remember….
    Hopefully his dramas/movies will be better in the future!

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Oh, I remember that clip! (Yeah, I think it was from Utaban.) Wasn’t this the time that Nakai was asking the SMAP dudes how their year went, and Kimura talked about his filming experience (without necessarily mentioning the name of the movie)? Come to think of it, Kimura has agreed to work with two auteurs without a serviceable script — Tran, and Wong Kar Wai (and didn’t he have an even more difficult experience filming 2046 because of all the re-shoots and stuff? :D).

      I so looked forward to ICWTR, too. And then when the film fest circuit reviews started ripping the movie apart, I looked forward to it even more, heh.

      About Kimura’s English, I wouldn’t have been so hard on his accent had his character really been a regular guy from Japan. But Shitao had a billionaire for a father — and one who spoke precise, fluent English at that — so it doesn’t make sense for the character to be struggling with English assuming he had the cosmopolitan upbringing implied by the film. (I mean, if I were a billionaire, I’d send my kids to Swiss boarding school and make sure they came home speaking 7 different languages, lol.)

      Well anyway, I’m also very excited about Kimura’s upcoming renzoku ren’ai! Yatta!!! XDDDD *crosses fingers*

  6. Peggy Says:

    I was looking forward to seeing Kimura at last in what I thought would be a decent role in an interesting film. I loved the PAPAYA film…so calm and beautiful and inevitable. How could this ICWTR be so out of the box with horror. I did not watch it once I read Ender’s Girl reviewing it.
    I am not a Hartnet fan at all. He is not as much of a star in US as Kimura is in Japan or Lee Byung Hun in Korea. His actng always left me cold. However I would have watched for the two Asian actors. Now I am glad I did not see this.

    Peg

  7. vivian Says:

    “I never would’ve watched ICWTR if not for Kimura, but after seeing the film I found myself really wishing he had never taken on this project, despite the gloss of Tran’s indie-auteur rep, despite the international cast, despite the “neo-noir” tag (whatever that means) attached to the film.”

    Exactly my point! I wish he hadn’t….

    After a few short clips about the movie, I knew I couldn’t stand it even if he was in it… Or bacuse he was in it… totally wasted…

  8. annielicious14 Says:

    I was going to give it a second watch, but can’t get up enough interest to. tee hee then after reading all your post….. I’ve given up the idea.

  9. steve Says:

    I remember the first time this guy turned me on to techno music.
    I was like, where are the lyrics, the story? Its just boom boom boom.
    He told me to listen and don’t try to understand it. Abstract. That film is the same for me. I watched it and enjoyed it because it was fresh and not the typical Hollywood stuff. The best film I’ve seen in a while. Pretentious maybe, but still cooler than Spiderman.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Well, since you like Tran Anh Hung’s style so much then perhaps you’d find his better received works — like Scent of Green Papaya — a more satisfying watch than Rain.🙂

  10. Peggy Says:

    If all Kimura had to go by was the film ‘Papaya’ then he was very misled by his manager. I loved that film and if I had been invited to do some scenes with that director, I would have accepted. I think that in many instances the Japanese groups do not have the slightest knowledge about foreign films or what producers and directors outside of Asia will do. The same thing happened with Wong and he was also very complimentary AFTER he saw how professional Kimura was. Said he would have used him a lot more, but by that time I think Kimura had had enough because of the great time loss and most of the waiting around. He is a star in Japan and these people just did not know who they were getting.
    Lee Byung Hun is a very experienced actor and has travelled a lot out of Korea. He can pretty much pick and choose his roles and he is very attractive and a good actor. The last thing I saw with him was the drama ‘IRIS’ He was great and the drama was worth seeing.

  11. Eliza Bennet Says:

    I like Tran Ahn Hung as a director and LOVED The Scent of the Green Papaya and Vertical Rays of the Sun both. Cyclo is not my type of film but I do likeTony Leung CW so I watched and it is a good film even though I didn’t like it -as much.

    This one I have waited so long to watch since NO ONE seemed to like it. I gave it a try yesterday and to no one’s suprise ended up being dissapointed since this director obviously can do much more where visual storytelling goes.

    I fully agree that Lee Byung Hun is the better actor in the cast by far. And Kimura was the best looking imho. I got the early Cronenberg (maybe because of Kotias) and late Mann vibes from the film and Sam Lee’s presence was a welcome suprise.

    His wife was adorable in his other films but she couldn’t handle that role at all. Not that there was anything to handle.

    Finally the editing is, for the lack of a better word, pretentious. And it kind of sucks since this one would have at least one or two supporters if it was not edited this way. Oh well.

    One cannot always win but the film makes the viewer a sore loser.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      “One cannot always win but the film makes the viewer a sore loser.” — Hear, hear! @_@

      Oooh, the Cronenberg vibes, nice.🙂 (Can’t see the late Michael Mann vibes though… which movies in particular did you mean? His urban crime thrillers?)

  12. Peggy Says:

    Has Tran made another film since this one? Have not kept up with him.

    I do sometimes wonder what he was smoking during ‘Rain’

    I didn’t even watch ‘Rain’ even for Kimura san. I saw a clip of him with all crawling creatures in existence exploring his open eyed face.
    The only thing I wanted to know was how did he keep his eyes open. No idea what the meaning was in the film. Must say that
    Kimura san knows how to follow director’s orders.

    • Ender's Girl Says:

      Tran? Well, he be smokin’ some locoweed, amigo!

      Well, Kimura seems to be game for anything if the role calls for it, creepy crawlers included.🙂

      Tran also directed Norwegian Wood, which premiered in 2010 at the Venice film fest to disappointing reviews. I have the movie on DVD and am kind of vaguely planning to see it someday.😀


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: