• R, 1 hr. 37 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Jieho Lee
    In Theaters:
    Jan 25, 2008 Wide
    On DVD:
    May 6, 2008
  • ThinkFilm

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The Air I Breathe Reviews

Page 1 of 107

Super Reviewer

June 18, 2012
Four stories revolving around a gangster come together.
I have to quote Kyle Smith of the New York Post: "Brendan Fraser is Pleasure, Sarah Michelle Gellar is Sorrow, Kevin Bacon is Love, Forest Whitaker is Happiness, and the director is Pretension." What a hilariously true line. The film seems to want to say something profound, but I have no idea what it is. While most of the performances are fine, Brendan Fraser is grotesquely miscast. Playful and exuberant most times, Fraser is forced to adopt a stern, sullen, unaffected demeanor, and it doesn't suit him; in fact, I often hoped that he would break into a wide grin and exclaim "Just kidding" before doing cartwheels down a dark alley. Andy Garcia is bipolar, irrationally erupting into screams after delivering most of his lines in a menacing whisper, and whoever thought it original to name a gangster "Fingers" should lose a finger.
I did like how the film came together. It's not near the Altman Standard, but it's more clever than I was expecting. And I also liked the idea behind the Fraser character: just because one can see the future doesn't mean that one can change it.
Overall, the Post sums this film up best: it's remarkably pretentious.
Sajin P

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2011
Yet another done-to-death, serendipitous, connecting-the-dots kind of movie. Only reason I walked into this one is because of the names Kevin Bacon and Julie Delpy in the cast sheet, and their bit parts were over within the blink of an eye.

Apparently the movie is based on some kind of theory that life revolves around four emotional cornerstones - Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow & Love. But the only thing the movie can take credit for is in taking the audience to the realms of a fifth one - BORED TO DEATH.

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2011
a strong cast and the lead characters all portray an emotion......
The four chapters are titled Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, and Love, each has a main character known only by the chapters title....
happiness (Forest Whitaker) a down on his luck man who attempts to find happiness in a shady gambling hall, where things go terribly wrong.
Pleasure (Brendan Fraser) a man who can see a few minutes into the future, but is frustrated at his inability to change the outcomes he sees.
Sorrow (Sarah Michelle Gellar) a singer whose contract was handed over to the mob as part of a payoff. Sorrow is unhappy being owned by the mob, but leaving won't be so easy.
Love (Kevin Bacon) a doctor, madly in love with his friends dying wife, she needs a transfusion, but her rare blood type is difficult to find. Love resorts to less than ideal means to obtain the blood she needs...
So there you have it. Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, and Love. The point is that these are the four parts of every persons life and you cant experience one without also experiencing the others.,so, the four emotions are forever intertwined within us all,ok,so similarly, the four chapters of this movie intertwine, sometimes in very unexpected ways.

Super Reviewer

October 11, 2010
Interesting... no, really. It was kinda of Crash-y but more violent. And I really liked the end. Wish that the Love (Kevin Bacon) story line had more oomph to it, but I think in these fractional tales, one story line usually gets a little shafted.
But really, the acting was great, the overall concept was very nice and the filming was beautiful. Oh, and Sarah Michelle Gellar looked stunning in every single frame of this film...
familiar s

Super Reviewer

January 24, 2009
IMO, it's just another movie blending several stories into one film. Despite of blending of several stories & a bit non-linear timeline, it's pretty easy to follow. However, the movie, in part as well as in whole, wasn't engaging enough. Hardly any story was captivating. Great performances don't help much either.

If you're a fan of this kind of package, go for it. Otherwise, I find it hard to recommend.

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2009
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Brendan Fraser, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Andy Garcia, Taylor Nichols, Forest Whitaker, Clark Gregg, Emile Hirsch, Julie Delpy, John Cho, Jason Dolley, Kelly Hu

Director: Jieho Lee

Summary: Kevin Bacon, Forest Whitaker, Brendan Fraser and Sarah Michelle Gellar co-star in this Jieho Lee-directed drama that mines four basic human emotions -- love, pleasure, sadness and joy -- for cinematic inspiration. A banker discovers true happiness, a mobster finds hope, a celebrity sees life lose its luster and a doctor wrestles with matters of the heart that can't be addressed within the confines of an operating room.

My Thoughts: "I liked this film quite a bit. Don't really know what makes it different from other films that link all the characters together in one way. Maybe it was the script. But I was totally intrigued in the story, and all of the characters story lines. Maybe my favorite movie that is like this. But ALL of the acting was good. A great cast. I even loved the ending.. You wanted so badly for a happy ending in one of their stories.. I am usually not one for that. I like the realness of a film, and to be honest most happy endings you see in films is totally B.S. But to my surprise this film had me hoping for one. Really interesting, give it a try.."

Super Reviewer

September 4, 2008
A directorial debut by an American-Korean filmmaker. Good cast and stellar performances by all characters. The story isnt hard to follow but I think most of the concept was lost with how the film was directed, still... I liked it, the films got a different taste to it.

Director: Jieho LeeGenres: Crime, Drama, Romance, ThrillerRecommendation: Good for a rental.

[P.S. Yes, I know I havent been reviewing movies all that well lately, just have too much on my plate to compose anything decent these days.]

Super Reviewer

February 15, 2009
ive seen a few films where its a bunch of strangers all connected to one guy and i must say this is my favourite altough a really strong cast you didnt hear much about it on the cinemas or anything but it was really good and interesting! sarah michelle gellar plays a singer whose contract gets turned over to ganster Garcia Forest whitaker is a bored depressed poor working man who bets on a horse without the actual money then owes ganster garcia money there just a couple of the characters but the story is good with great acting and good plot really worth a watch!

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2008
Electric and brilliant action-filled drama about four very different people teetering on the edge of desperation are unexpectedly linked by their destinies. I like Sorrow (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Pleasure (Brendan Fraser) and Love (Kevin Bacon) scenes the best as well as the solid performances by Gellar, Fraser, Bacon, Emile Hirsch and Andy Garcia.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

April 25, 2009
An utter catastrophe. The cast is fine, they do what they can with their boring characters and a script that is built completely around fake coincidences and cheesy melodrama, but it comes to no avail. Some of the "dramatic" material is unintentionally hilarious, I found myself making fun of the film more than I was in "awe" of it, which is definitely what director Lee wants you to feel. You want to see a great movie with a similar plot but a healthy script? Stick with "Crash".

Super Reviewer

June 4, 2008
When a film's main premises are: a) Brendan Fraser being a psychic badass, b) Andy Garcia being anywhere in the film, and c) relying on Sarah Michelle Gellar's "acting talent" you know you're gonna shoot yourself in the foot before pre-production even begins. It tries too hard to be Crash and Magnolia tied together and ends up being a boring ultra-violent piece of trash that makes no sense at times. BUT...Emile Hirsch is excellent, as he always is.
Jose Z

Super Reviewer

October 18, 2008
The Air I Breathe is a good movie. It has a very interesting story and a very convincing and well developed plot based on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. A businessman (Whitaker) bets his life on a horse race; a gangster (Fraser) sees the future; a pop star (Gellar) falls prey to a crime boss (Garcia); a doctor (Bacon) must save the love of his life. Its a film full of drama, it also has a little of humor some of it involuntary. The cast is formed by all-star actors, Brendan Frasier delivers an outstanding performance as a mobster who can see the future, Sarah Michelle Gellar's role as a singer that apparently is happy but lives ina deep sadness was very good and convincing, Forest Whitaker excellent as always, Andy Garcia as a cold heart gangster is amazing, Kevin Bacon's performance is great as a doctor capable of doing anything to save a life and Emile Hirsch was also very convincing and even funny at some moments. To resume, this is a very good movie with mixed feelings such as sadness, happiness and love that you will enjoy and fully recommend.

Super Reviewer

January 21, 2008
'The Air I Breathe' is a film divided into four parts. There's Happiness (Whitaker) who is stuck in the perceived cycle of life and finds a way out when he bets his life on a horserace. Pleasure (Fraser) is a mobster who can see the future and then one day, his future sight just loses its touch and ends up getting mugged. Then there's Sorrow (Gellar) a popstar who falls in love with Pleasure but then gets separated by Pleasure's mob boss Fingers portrayed by the very menacing Andy Garcia. And finally, we have Love (Bacon) a doctor who tries desperately to save the woman of his life after being bitten by a poisonous snake.

This movie made my whole week. Newcomer director Jieho Lee weaves all these tales together with excellence. The story was great, its plot is in line with previous films like 'Crash' and 'Babel' and this film made a mark on its own. Its not like Crash, its not like Babel; its just the way it is. It doesn't try to be these films and it successfully holds on its own out there.

The acting was top notch. You got Hollywood veterans like Forest Whitaker, Kevin Bacon and Andy Garcia and then you got fresh, raw talent like Emile Hirsch and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Its a mix made in heaven. The performer that stood out
to me the most is Forest Whitaker. His screentime was a short 30 minutes only but it was a 30 minutes filled with his acting power and intensity. Other notable performances were of Kevin Bacon, Brendan Fraser and Andy Garcia.

It is an emotional film, it is well thought-out and it will make you think what people really wants in a world we live in.

Highly recommended.

Super Reviewer

January 21, 2008
I really though this movie was really great. Everyone should rent this movie and you will enjoy it. A drama based on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. A businessman (Whitaker) bets his life on a horse race; a gangster (Fraser) sees the future; a pop star (Gellar) falls prey to a crime boss (Garcia); a doctor (Bacon) must save the love of his life.
Al S

Super Reviewer

December 4, 2007
A unique, remarkable and breathtaking film. It's gripping, nail-biting, shocking and utterly spellbinding. It grabs you and dosent let go. A compelling variety of characters played by an all-star cast that give some of the best performances of their careers. Andy Garcia is electrifying. Sarah Michelle Gellar is teriffic. Kevin Bacon is excellent. Brendan Frasier is magnificent. Forest Whitaker is brilliant. Bold, fearless and dedicated performances. A stylish, very cool, thrilling and mind-blowing film. It sets the screen on fire with passion, power and excitment. This is one unforgettable movie. An excellent invention of the original chinese proverb poem that shows all human emotions. A dazzeling knockout. An extroadinary, powerful, magnetic and ingenious piece of work. A riveting edge of your seat thriller thats both deeply moving and action-packed. A masterpiece.

Super Reviewer

February 18, 2007
I just can't say a lot about this movie... It just brilliant... 4 great short story comes up into a brilliant movie, yet they connected to each other... The cast did a pretty good job.. From the Oscar winner, Forest Whittaker, then Andy Garcia, Brendan Faser, Kevin Bacon, Julie Delpy, even the young Sarah Michelle Gellar, they try to put on their best performance in here... The story, which is tells about 4 human feelings, Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow, and Love, just great... And what a little surprise that they connected one to each other... An embarrassment to the time because we didn't know which story comes first... But one question in my mind, why is the title for this movie is 'The Air I Breathe?' I think it's a little question I'm going to keep for a while... Yet, it's a fresh and brilliant movie...

Super Reviewer

March 10, 2008
Uh...I fell asleep halfway through and was okay with it.
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

April 16, 2008
good concept film. very good performances, especially gellar. a bit dark, but i like that in a movie.

Super Reviewer

March 16, 2008
Altough leaving much to desire dialogue-wise, this movie had a cool and interesting story (or rather to say intertwined series of stories), which couldn't help but remind me of "Crash" by Paul Haggis. And to my great delight, The Air I Breathe was about just as good, altough a bit different in its sense of storytelling and style of direction.

It's a pity though that it had to be so overly ambitious, because it felt like the director was trying too hard in his aim to create something above the standard. Also, due to the mediocre writing and short running time, it regrettably lost a lot of its potential along the way. Still a good movie though that I'd definitely recommend.
Todd S

Super Reviewer

February 6, 2008
I really didn't expect to like this movie as much as I did, after all several critics had refereed to is as a tame re-packaging of Pulp Fiction. The film is broken up into four parts that are out of order, and the characters all do eventually interact, there is also a mafia angle to the film, but overall besides the way things were laid out, I didn't really draw much of a comparison to Pulp Fiction. The stories all involve these peoples interactions with the mob, but they're all for different reasons and all have different outcomes. Andy Garcia is the boss, of course, always the perfect choice for a gangster or ruthless leader, and you get from him what's expected. What isn't expected is the tremendous performance of Brendan Fraser. I am not a fan and have never really considered him anything but a mediocre comedic actor, but after seeing The Air I Breathe, my opinion of him was definitely swayed. While watching the pieces, I knew they would somehow come together, but the way it was done was completely unpredictable and really something to watch. The film had a huge cast, with a ton of cameos, and just as many twists and turns. What I was expecting was far different from what I saw and I was more than happy with the way the film was done. I think if the film had been done in the traditional model of storytelling, it wouldn't have had as big of an impact.
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