Favorite New Films: My Blueberry Nights

posted by The Joe

my blueberry nights

Opening this week in the Twin Cities, finally, is Wong Kar Wai‘s English-language debut, My Blueberry Nights. What we have here is the most frustrating film of the year, a movie so flawed in so many areas that I hadn’t planned on writing something up for it as a Favorite New Film. And yet, I’ve just been unable to get it out of my head.

The biggest downfall of the film is the dialogue, which isn’t too surprising. The best parts of Wai’s past films have been the intricate, detailed language and observations, and with little command of this new language he’s working in, he’s had to resort to more obvious and glossed-over speeches and characterization.

Apart from the stellar New York cafe scenes between Norah Jones and Jude Law, the film lacks the necessary depth to its emotional core. While Jones’ adventures in Memphis with the always-amazing David Straithairn fit right into the feel of the film, Natalie Portman‘s father-hating gambler storyline seems completely out-of-place.

Those aforementioned Law/Jones scenes, however, are classic Wong Kar Wai, with the couple talking throughout the night about the meaning of forgotten keys and blueberry pies. Straithairn’s storyline also never stops being engrossing, despite it speeding by a bit too fast (probably due to the 20 minutes cut from its original Cannes debut).

The highest reason for recommendation, with this being a Wong Kar Wai film, is that it’s more beautiful than anything you’ll likely to see for the rest of the year. While the absence of cinematographer Christopher Doyle is sadly noticeable, the film still utilizes strange camera angles, slow-mo, and neon lights to their fullest extent. Wai’s vision of America is uniquely his own, rich with melancholy and nostalgia, and a lot of the style feels like Fallen Angels‘ whimsical segments more than anything else.

My Blueberry Nights is certainly Wai’s fluff film, introducing audiences slowly to his unmistakable style, and that in itself makes it one of the weakest in his filmography. But the film is unforgettable regardless, and is one of the better American romances in recent memory.

My Blueberry Nights – Trailer

Saturday, April 26th, 2008 at 6:00 pm