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They may be high-def re-releases, but these two imports remain bold, often brazen affairs....
Kino /195 Minutes / 1995/1997 / Unrated / Street Date: September 25, 2012
Wong Kar-Wai's cinema literally teems with the search for identity in a modern world spinning out of control. The filmmaker does a daft act of tightrope-walking in each of his films in that his subject matter tends to be zippy and hyperactive while his imagery retains a certain contemplative calm, a meditative uniqueness. Fallen Angels (1995) and Happy Together (1997) aren't two of the director's most indicative works, but they're nevertheless emblematic examples of his singular narrative talents.
Fallen Angels is the more fan-adored of the two - this morality tale about killers and crime is surprisingly lovable. Presented with whiz-bang staccato fury, Wong Kar-Wai doesn't tell the story of Fallen Angels as much as he unleashes it upon his audience. There are, of course, introspective moments within the movie's shoot-em-up scenario, and this is where his talents are most apparent: the director has the talents to make a rat-a-tat gunfight seem solemn and philosophical.
Yet it's Happy Together - with all its inconsistencies - that makes for more fulfilling repeat viewing on this double feature box set. In many ways, it feels like an attempt by the director to make an anti-romance. The two men (Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung) at the center of this quietly unassuming movie definitely find a relationship with one another, but Wong Kar-Wai's focus on the shrapnel of their fleeting flashes of contentment with each other gives the film a sad, elegiac feel. Fallen Angels may be more fun to watch, but Happy Together is a brutally sad experiment of a movie, and it's clear that its director was going for something big with it.