Wong Kar Wai has came a long way since As Tears Go By (his first feature) which did contain some of his signature elements as a filmmaker but at the end of the day was kind of a melodramatic Chinese reworking of Mean Streets. In The Mood For Love was just his way of rubbing in the fact that he had found his style and he wanted the world to know how awesome he was. We all know there's a million movies out there that are pretty to look at (like In The mood For Love) but don’t really bring anything else to the table. In The Mood For Love is pretty much the total package (not to sound so cliché, but it is). What this film has that others with a similar plot or approach don’t is richness, beauty and the kind of leading performance given by Tony Leung (who went on to win best actor at Cannes) that really cant be found anywhere else these days. Sometimes you get so caught up in looking at this film for its beauty that you forget there's also a great story (and soundtrack) that goes along with the pretty moving images.
On a side note, In The Mood For Love was in the top tier of those prominent east Asian films that surfaced at the beginning of the last decade (Battle Royale/Japan, Audition/Japan, Yi Yi/Taiwan, etc). Wong Kar Wai's influence on new filmmakers like Xavier Dolan (specifically Heartbeats) is pretty evident while modern Japanese cinema continues to influence American cinema through remakes and other recent popular movies (I know Hunger Games was a book first but if you think Battle Royal didn't influence the movie you're crazy)
|Maggie Cheung in Days Of Being Wild (1991)|
|Tony Leung in Days Of Being Wild (1991)|
|Happy Together (1997) / In The Mood For Love (2000)|
|Days Of Being Wild (1991) / In The Mood For Love|
This film gets away with another thing I usually can’t stand which is a loud score. Normally when a filmmaker like Christopher Nolan uses music in a film that's louder than the actors (Inception & Dark Knight Rises) I throw a mini-conniption fit on the inside. Although beautiful, In The Mood For Love's score is a bit loud but somehow it doesn’t seem to bother me. I guess that’s because there isn't the same amount of dialogue as your average film (apparently Wong Kar Wai doesn’t work from traditional scripts anyway). Another plus about this film is that instead of clocking in at some epic three hour long saga, In The Mood For Love gets its point across in just 90 minutes.