19 August 2018 | duydoan
A film of moderate caliber
The film is permeated by the vibes of cai-luong (reformed theater), a kind of traditional Southern Vietnamese folk opera. Here features a young guy who appears quite violent in action, quite muscular and rugged in build, and quite terse and monotonous in words. There features another young guy who appears meek and slim and naive and nice. They have the same childhood studded with memories of cai-luong troupes and activities. Yet as courses of their lives roll on, one strolls toward his fulfillment, and one along his perilous path and keeps that until the very end. Of course, on their ways, they have a brief pause to have a chance encounter followed by another chance one, extended by some spell of a prolonged conversation around art, life and even time travel. That's where the promising opening of the film is faded into hackneyed verbal patterns typical of ordinary situations in Vietnam. It's quite clichéd yet real.
Above all, I find the film most charming in its decent presentation of Southern Vietnamese ambience, mostly vividly expressed via minor characters, which feels so dear to me, who is also a native Southern. And it's the only big plus in my view of this film. Perhaps some people would mention its shots of beauty or exquisiteness or splendor, you name it, as an unignorable outstanding aspect, for good reason of their own. That is so exaggerated and not the case in my mind, as they are nothing more than some kind of mimicked and framed creation rather than revealing or creative one. I do find them beautiful, and only deem them as the spice of the film just as a variety of people portrayed here of life. After all, setting aside some over-romantic or over-hinted scenes and some faux coincidences, I'm left with a film of moderate caliber with few nonsensical happenings and verbalization which are usually a trademark for Vietnamese films.