Chinese Box - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Chinese Box Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 17, 2009
Not sure what to say about this film, as I am really not sure what the points was. Its from a list of films listed in the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival, and all the other films from that list that I have seen have been great. This one is about a journalist who has leukemia and can't get over a girlfriend. He also meets a scare face women and why she was in this film is beyond me. But its during the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong in 1997, and the brits are kicked out of the country. This one just do it for me though I enjoyed the video shots of Hong Kong, Market Places. Music was good also. So 3 stars, I didn't fall a sleep.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2008
Great metaphor.
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2008
An intriguing movie.
½ May 1, 2012
Boring (I mean, unwatchable) movie, from the beginning to the end. Jeremy Irons plays a tormented journalist who takes disgusting things and wants to know irrelevant stuff in order to publish. The DVD box suggests the movie is about a forbidden love between a single englishman and a married chinese woman. This could only happen during the last 15 minutes of the film.
June 10, 2007
One of my all time favorites.
½ July 17, 2004
What a lovely pleasure to find another late show, IHR gem at my favorite video store! Nevertheless, "The Chinese Box," due to third and fourth worst stereotypes for this genre, falls far short of what it promises.

Meant to literally document Hong Kong's mood immediately after its 1997 return to mainland China's control, the film hits the ground running with a suicide bringing the main lovers together in the style of "A Room with a View." Jeremy Irons's hapless pursuit of his married best friend seemingly ends when he comforts her shock; the viewer roots for an awkward writer's triumph over himself and prejudice.

Unfortunately, the twist of his discovery he has incurable cancer leads to learning Irons' character is just another 'guy who deserted his family for jungle fever.' The great work Irons and co-star Gong Li are doing is further marred by Bad IHR plot device #4: only sex for hire can cure an Englishman's intolerant repression. They lose my interest at this point.

What partially saves "Chinese Box" is a figurative reminder of British colonials being more downtrodden than 'new territories' citizens. Irons tries to make a future he and Li won't have for a suicidal girl scholar turned street hustler and her wealthy, lost first lover whom he finds. When the younger Brit denies his ex-girlfriend, it's as culturally embarassing for a Westerner as Great Britain's denial of any (if Asian readers think applicable) post-holdover responsibility.

The women wind up free to go into the world alone but as who they really are while the British characters end up varying degrees of dead: unsatisfying on multiple levels. :down:
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