I know I said I wouldn't do any more WKW, but I'm not quite ready to move on yet, and I just watched this flick today, so I decided to post my thoughts. After this though, no more WKW, and I think I'm finally gonna talk about some flicks I don't love so that you're not just reading me gushing like a little girl over every movie. For now though, courage.
When I started my director study of Wong Kar-Wai there was always one film I had kind of avoided. I mean, it wasn’t like I was actively against watching the flick, I just felt it more important to see his other work first. That film was his first American feature, “My Blueberry Nights.” There were several reasons for this, first of all, there was the simple fact that WKW is a Hong Kong director, so to me it only made sense that I watch the films that made him famous first. Then there was the fact that “My Blueberry Nights” was his only film to not be critically adored. Of course this is no final basis to go on, I mean I love lots of films critics don’t. But you know, it has to be said that seeing the lower ratings certainly affects my choice of films. As I started watching his movies, I then didn’t quite want to see the flick because I wouldn’t see any of his stable of actors which I had come to expect from his movies, particularly Tony Leung, who has been in all but one of WKW’s movies, and is, in my opinion one of the finest actors working today, anywhere.
Of course eventually I finished his Hong Kong movies, and still craving more WKW while I await his newest feature, “The Grandmasters,” I decided to finally check Blueberry Nights out.
To be honest, I’m once again annoyed at myself for not having seen the film sooner(This is something that happens to me quite a bit). I mean, it’s very much in the vein of his other films which I adore. It’s still got his usual themes of lost loves and fleeting time. It has that signature WKW directorial touch, basically it’s still his movie. Sure I miss the presence brought forth by one of his usual actors, but in making this film, he introduced me to new actors(well, sort of) as well as new music.
I don’t think it’s possible to watch a WKW flick for the first time and not find some songs you want to add to your play list. I know I’ve already beaten this point to death, but his use of music for his films among the best. I would easily rank him up there with Scorsese, Tarantino, and to a lesser degree, Wes Anderson. “My Blueberry Nights” features a pretty heavy jazz score, not surprising seeing as the film stars Norah Jones.
Speaking of which, this is Norah Jones’ first acting role. She never auditioned for the role, it was simply offered to her by WKW, a daring move but one that I think paid off. She’s good in the role, I mean, she’s not some amazing revelation or anything, but I think she does bring her own certain charm to the role. And by casting someone who we’re not used to seeing in a movie, it makes it easier to identify with the character.
The movie is often criticized for having too little story, and I know that with this paragraph I can’t possibly be helping my argument that I do think story is the most important element of a narrative movie, but a grand story was unnecessary for this movie. I guess it could be said that WKW is the enemy of people who want a great story as he focuses far more on character, mood and atmosphere. Like I’ve said, his movies are about the individual moments contained, like a CD. I find that the story in this movie, or I guess the framework of the plot, is there really just to introduce us to different characters, and to allow us a peek inside the lives of others.
“My Blueberry Nights” is an almost dreamlike movie, which asks us to simply sit back and allow the movie to wash over us. I dug it a lot.