Sunday, 23 November 2008

Away with Words [1998]


Away with Words has nearly everything that could be there in the cinematography section – from point-of-view shots to flashforwards, from subdued blue filters to bright natural lightings, from standstills to motion blurs; and they are all a treat to the eye. Of course, coming from world’s most famous DOP Christopher Doyle (of Chungking Express and Hero fame), this was expected – more so since he had complete carte blanche given that this is his directorial venture. And one cannot deny the fact that his exceptional usage of visual montages has created an intensely surreal feast for the viewers. However, it can’t also be denied that Doyle’s directorial debut is an exceedingly curious, psychedelic and experimental movie devoid of any narrative, despite the theme of loneliness and alienation trough the tale of its two protagonists – a Chinese guy with the ability to associate physical dimensions with abstract words, and a hard-drinking Australian (undoubtedly Doyle’s alter ego). Too many liberties were taken where more restraint was necessary principally because Doyle the cinematographer strongly overshadowed Doyle the filmmaker. Hence the end product is a visual delight for the eyes but a bizarre jumble of undecipherable sequences for the mind.









Director: Christopher Doyle
Genre: Psychological Drama/Ensemble Film/Experimental
Language: Chinese
Country: China (Hong Kong)

4 comments:

theseventhart.info said...

Too self-indulgent, too cryptic and tries too much. The visual style was not enough for me to be complacent about the film...

Shubhajit said...

Absolutely...

1minutefilmreview said...

We remember watching 'Paris, je t'aime' and coming away from the film thinking that Doyle's segment was the weakest link. It almost marred the whole film. The whole short looked like a commercial and we thought at that time - God help us all if he directs an entire movie!

We have not seen this but based on your review, we'd do well to stay away right matey?

By the way...are you in any way related to Jhumpa Lahiri?

Shubhajit said...

Yeah, this is one Hong Kong film you'd do well to stay away from. And this is one thing (read: direction) that Doyle should clinically avoid.

As far as I know, I'm not related to author Jhumpa Lahiri, even though we share the same surname.