Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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This film proceeds so slowly, it's hard to discern that anything is happening. Bit by bit we see that it is about three characters, and how things appear calm above the surface of their lives, but what we watch for the first 30 minutes or so is deceiving. Only 2 of the 3 characters really know each other, yet the two that do not have a more profound effect on each other than one would expect. Roger Ebert's review is the definitive one on this film. 4 Stars
Despite its evocative visuals, it feels repetitious to see Tsai explore once again his favorite themes of loneliness and emptiness but in a film that is too puzzling and lacks in consistency - especially with regard to the character's odd obsession with clocks and a woman he barely meets.
Peeing into plastic bags and plastic bottles.
This is the second film I've seen by Ming-liang Tsai and it shares the same rhythms with that later one (Goodbye Dragon Inn) -- that is, slow and still. The shots often feature "ugly" settings (e.g., toilets, messy rooms) but are shot with colored lights or filters (and dressed with certain objects) such that the complementary hues stand out. The plot itself is about loss and lack of connection (a father/husband passes away, a girl goes on a trip to a country where she doesn't speak the language) but it doesn't feel as depressed or dejected as that sounds -- instead it feels rather mysterious. This sense of mystery is heightened by the film's ending in Paris. What resonance might an object like the watch (transferred from one to another) hold, spiritually, psychologically? Is this the key to the puzzle? Deeper allusions to reincarnation (the wheel of time) abound and turning back time might be a very common human yearning. Something to ponder.
A very very weird movie
Having found A WAYWARD CLOUD hopelessly and completely distasteful, I was reluctant to give Tsai Ming-Liang a second chance. But I did, and I have to say that WHAT TIME IS IT OVER THERE is a very interesting film.
Over the last two decades, the Taiwanese cinema have been given such a large amount of acclaim that it dashes me that it's quiet opposite of what I expected, and seen some of the film, this is not my first one. What Time Is It Over There? is boring as hell. With an incredibly slow story, and another pathetic love story about a mother obsessed with her dead husband, which it's kind of interesting, but also very creepy. I usually likes movie that takes chances, but in this case and with the wrong cinematography. And it even pays tribute to the french new wave, by showing clips form The 400 Blows and even features the star Jean-Pierre Léaud as himself in a cameo. Thumbs down.
Actually possessing some kind of coherent plot, Tsai's most accessible film to date. Not that he wants to make it easy for the audience, but he does display an actual sense of humor (or at least a sense of the ridiculous) in amongst the usual themes of alienation, frustration and melancholia.
While I realize Taiwan's Tsai Ming-Liang's place in cinema, "What Time Is It There" just did not work for me. Even with its moments of comedic bursts, overall, it is still a very frustrating and tough film to sit through.
Ming-Liang belabors his points with long stretches of unnecessary screen time. It is a film that spoon feeds too much of its narrative and does not allow its audience to think for themselves. At the same time, his heavy-hand approach and the need to repeat certain scenes long after one has gotten the point has a dumbing down effect.
At times, the best way to get a point across is to take the direct approach. While in others, a good case can be made in using additional screen time to tell an emotion or a complex story. Ming-Liang goes beyond those acceptable limits with the material he has.
In the end, "What Time Is It There" becomes an exercise in which the audience is way ahead of the filmmakers in comprehension and deconstructing its underlying themes. It is a position that a film does not want to be in because when it does, it is unrewarding and hardly satisfying and in the process, alienates its audience.
So, so beautiful. My first Tsai's film and I'm already captivated.