Fallen Angels Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 8, 2007
Netflix somni-bomb. All style, mood and colors. It literally took me three months to get through this frickin' movie because it kept putting me to sleep. So cool it's dead.
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2007
UPDATE: Just discovered that Fallen Angels is out on DVD and I can watch it. Will buy it soon and re-watch it and then re-review it........soon

Fallen Angels is the story of a professional killer in Hong Kong. It follows the in's and out's of his job and his partner in crime who he rarely sees. After 3 years of working together, he wants out. Another sub-plot is about a mute (caused by eating expired cans of pineapples for a month, after he was heart broken) who breaks into restaurants, cafés and ice-cream trucks at night and forces people to buy his goods!

Wong Kar Wai?s fifth directorial film in 1995 and which was originally meant to be part of Chung King Express was a good film but not great. For me it seems incoherent and the characters just don?t seem to be able to hold the narrative well as I thought. There great parts of the movie are as follows; the stunning cinematography done by frequent collaborator, Christopher Doyle really captures the mood of Hong Kong well and the themes brought up in the film. Such as alienation from others, which I believed that was shown well.

Once again, Wai leaves hints of trademarks around the mise-en-scne. For instance during the film, there are constant references to the weather, and how it?s raining. Which has been featured in Chungking, In The Mood For Love, Happy Together amongst his work. There are also subtle hints in the background, through radio and TV, which reflects Hong Kong?s news, which is currently going on. What is done well is the usage of language, we see the news in English, French and Mandarin of course- that reflects well the era in which it was done in. The camerawork is something, which I haven?t seen in his work before. The close-up camera work is effective and does make the audience understand the characters well and their thoughts and feelings. However, what also this creates is a colastrophic atmosphere that these alienated characters are finding themselves in most of the time and you do feel like you are intruding in their lives at times.

The narrative, as I stated before, is a little confusing. However the narrative with He Zhiwu I was able to understand. Once amusing scene was when he was massaging a pig, which probably fitted well with his character?s personality. He was a mute, but I felt more sympathy for him that the other characters within Fallen Angels. Perhaps the camera-work made the film, for me, seem a little slow-paced and out of sorts.

Overall, Fallen Angels is worth the watch but is not of of his better movies. For me Chungking, its predecessor is far superior and has that quirkiness about it, which you cannot not like. This, perhaps, is a darker versions of that and delves deeper into what really is going on in these disillusioned people. If you haven?t watch Wai?s excellent work, start with his most recent work as it?s far better. Fallen Angels is superior to Days of Being Wild and As Tears Go By
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2008
Bleh, Wong Kar Wai...at least he had the decency to show Michelle Reis touching herself.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2006
Life, maybe, turns on coincidence or is directed by fate -- your choice -- or maybe not : ) Sometimes it seems as if we do live in a very small world, although sometimes it is so huge and impersonal that we don't even recognize our former lovers. This elastic size of the world can make love hard to find, and it can make it easy. If you find love, however, will it last? Love of family is the most stable kind of love, but even that cannot, in the world of the living, last forever. Another very bittersweet experience from Wong.
Super Reviewer
½ June 17, 2007
Wow. This film is just a bundle of energy. Very different from later films such as In The Mood For Love, this is the story of the relationship between a hitman ready to leave the business and his partner, entangled with the story of an eccentric mute who sneaks into businesses when they close and forms unique bonds with people. And although this is definitely a very different type of film than one like In The Mood For Love or 2046 - like those films, Fallen Angels is jampacked with sexual energy and has a very strong sense of style. From the immense variety of different, interesting camera angles to the frenetic pace of most of the shots - this is stylistically one of the coolest films I've ever seen. But beneath all that, it's a very, very human film. It focuses on the person to person bond and actually reveals itself to be a completely earthbound tale, reinforcing the title, and creating in the process a very beautiful, aware film wrapped up in a pretty, glossy sheen of style. If you're a fan of Kar Wai Wong, or Asian film in general, this is a must-see.
Super Reviewer
½ May 19, 2007
If 2046 had kept me away from Wong Kar Wai, Fallen Angels has made me desperately seek out his previous work. This movie is a frantic recount of young lost people, shot entirely during nighttime in Hong Kong. It's heartbreaking in the sense that since it doesn't provide an ending for all the characters -but I guess it's good for a change to not wrap everything up in a hurry and make the audience feel let down. All the events flow logically, yet freely. Kar Wai is also the master of mood: the closely-shot settings and the neon lights induce claustrophobia, but they are also very eye-catching. The characters are down and lonely. They all have communication issues: some never see each other, some seek touch to the verge of craziness, some only speak on the phone, some don't speak at all. They all smoke cigarettes perpetually, the only thing that is always there inconditionally. You can either enjoy it with your heart, your eyes, or your brain. It takes a lot of risks : little dialogue, slow-mo, scattered violence, voice-over, and yet it never drags or bores. Highly recommended.
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2011
Amazing direction by Wong Kar-wai and a film flooding to the brim with emotional pull and humanity, Fallen Angels is another great film in his repertoire. Shot with many effects and filming styles, the film literally portrays a moving city and those in it in such a surreal and exciting way. With the many references to Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express(1994), this makes a wonderful companion piece to that particular film but thoroughly remains its own distinctively original story arc and characters. If you haven't checked out Wong Kar-wai yet or any of his films, Fallen Angels, Chungking Express (1994), In the Mood for Love (2000), or Happy Together(1997) are all released on Blu-ray, and you should rent or watch one to get a taste of his visual style. The first three have excellent Criterion Collection releases and Kino gives a solid job with Happy Together so if you like one you will likely find the others very intriguing and unique works as well!
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2010
I tried IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, and then 2046 and now FALLEN ANGELS and they're all "all style, and no substance" and boring as hell. No more Kar Wai Wong romantic coupling films for me. ASHES OF TIME REDUX is great though.
Super Reviewer
½ August 27, 2008
I assume it's because of my unfair will that prevents me to rate this higher,Kar Wai's most ambiguous work in my books.Effective,slick temperament and a palling atmosphere,thugs and underground individuals interconnect into a roundabout of frisky results.I expect more masterpieces though from that modern master.
Super Reviewer
½ February 7, 2009
I'm not really sure what to make of this movie. It was energetic, but not very entertaining. It was stylish, but not substantial. The girl (Michelle Reis) was really hot, but the look of the film was quite ugly. The point of this film wasn't supposed to be the story (there's really no narrative, which isn't necessarily a bad thing), but it was obviously supposed to be a new-wave 90's artistic visual statement. The only problem is that I didn't like looking at it.
Super Reviewer
½ April 12, 2008
not quite up to far with CKE, certainly not as uplifting, however very stylish look at the underbelly of HK at night...very good acting..not so entertaining but memorable story
Super Reviewer
½ February 3, 2008
The more I see of Wonk Kar-Wai, the more I like him.
It really feels like he's doing him own thing and the films are his vision through and through.
I would have liked to see more of Michele Reis though.
Super Reviewer
½ August 25, 2007
Wong Kar-Wai loves his colors. They burst out of the screen, neon-bright and silky smooth. He also loves his music, not only including his usual array of pop songs but editing to and around them. He also loves mood, and creates entire scenes with the sole purpose of generating it, and trying to sustain it for the film's duration. The film is not much else.

Almost like a fashion magazine commercial directed with MTV in mind version of "In the Mood for Love", the film is about a longing that cannot or must not be fulfilled. The problem is that the longing here is unearned, the characters are a series of actions, as opposed to the individuals who perform them, and the writing, while occasionally strong, is not very helpful. If in "Chungking Express" the manic energy served to propel the film, here it IS the film. This is not so much a case of style over substance as it is a case of style AS substance. The final product ends up being a series of loosely connected scenes involving four characters. Some of the scenes are very good, some are perfunctury, some contradict the characters and others seem to be there just because the director liked them. The whole film has the feel of a student art-project that was expanded to feature length.

That said, the film does succeed in generating a very specific mood. It is sometimes touching to see these characters reaching out, futilely trying to create some kind of contact with another human being. The photography, while sometimes annoying and needlessly showie, is very beautiful and the use of music is, for the most part, sublime.

Out of all the Wong Kar-Wai films I've seen, however (and they haven't been many) this is the first time he seemed to buy into his own hype, the first time he tried to be "cool" for the sake of being "cool". quirky for the sake of being quirky, "hip" for the sake of being "hip". The film seems to reflect more a man intent on making the coolest, trippiest, hippest succession of shots and strung-together sequences than a true overarching work of art.
Super Reviewer
½ June 29, 2007
The least of Wong Kar Wai's movies, but still would watch it 100 times before seeing the pirate movies again.
Super Reviewer
April 23, 2006
Think of it as a darker, lonelier version of Chungking Express, with glimpses of heartbreaking comic relief. Christopher Doyle's breathtaking cinematography really connects you with the characters and makes you feel their desolation and hope and joy. Takeshi Kaneshiro stands out in particular as an endearing mute who breaks into people's shops after dark and runs them as his own. Beautiful stuff from a master.
½ January 6, 2013
Kar Wai Wong, who also directed the quirky My Blueberry Nights, has a good reputation for unusual romances. This certainly qualifies in that category. It focuses on two separate stories and (unsatisfactorily) links them together at the finish. The acting is good. The story moves too slowly for my tastes and there were many beautifully shot scenes that really just didn't fit in with the simple plot. So though it is stylish and quirky, it rambles too much and ended poorly, making it not quite good enough to recommend.
½ December 2, 2012
Painful. Honestly. The ideas are great but the execution is so lackluster. It's bold but it fails. The style is almost cool but it doesn't even look good. Production values are shoddy to the point of distraction. I don't enjoy the characters, either. The script isn't bad but the directing is just so incredibly cheesy. Don't believe the critics. This film isn't good.
November 28, 2011
Absolutely mesmerizing visually, this is a kind of movie where the story takes backseat to the presentation. The acting is purposely over the top, but somehow Kar Wai Wong makes it all work.
February 3, 2008
Gave this a re-watch to break in a Blu-ray copy, still an amazing viewing experience all the way around.

Another beautifully photographed Wong Kar Wai film that tells two intertwined tales of loneliness, longing and love. Set in and around Chungking Mansions hotel, it follows the tales of a hitman and his female partner who cleans up after him, as well as an ex-con who makes a meager living breaking into different businesses and forcing passersby to pay him for unwanted goods or services and a strange young woman he meets and falls for.

January 15, 2009
Asians really love McDonalds. I can also officially add to this to my very slim list of all time favorite movies. I think secretly Wong-Kar Wai wants to be an action director. His hand held, fish eye combination makes for a very intimate approach with his characters (it really does) but it's also cool when through it, we see Tony Leung shooting up an entire room of contracts while blood splatters all over the lens. But what I admire the most about Wai's early filmography (besides the camera techniques) are his blending shots of interiors and exteriors. Characters may be in rooms shuffling about but in the background there's a constant moving and lit skyline. He knows how to shoot a sleep deprived city at night. The tunnel scenes were perfect, I felt like I wanted to be there to experience it all. What else? this movie makes smoking look cool, Wai revisits the expired pineapple motif and the characters suffer heartbreak but somehow remain optimistic. Which may hint that these characters may have the right idea about love and romance: whoever you share it with, it's only temporary.
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