Fallen Angels Review

Daunting brilliance builds its way up with stylish glee as Wong Kar-wai introduces his audience to the characters that litter Fallen Angels. His warped camera, the space of the room and the angles he chooses are unpredictable and stylish. They are beyond compare to anything he or anyone else has offered in this era, or at least, anything my feeble mind can conjure up. A brain like a sieve and what little substance remains is coated in a thick paste of alcohol. Who is there to compare him to? Such a unique experience is to be found throughout this piece, and it is all thanks to those fallen angels he wishes to depict. His title depicts the bunch in bizarre, barely linked scenarios as his camera style brings an overwhelming flurry of action-packed emotions, hoping to capture even the slightest glimmer of terror that is to be found in the daunting streets of criminals looking for a way out, and oddities of life looking for a way in.

Extreme close-ups, frequent cuts and a glorified soundtrack of heavy tones makes the most of this lucid, free-flowing story. Black and white, blurry moments are intercut with the Dutch angles, spiralling camera and lucid inspiration. Kar-wai does not allow the camera to slow down. We are never stuck with a static shot or moment of rest, and it makes the narrative a hectic piece of perfection. While the beauty of Falling Angels may be found in its universal approval and its consistent story making techniques, the real passion lies in the attempt at trying something new. There is such perseverance on display, it does put into perspective the intense ability Kar-wai has as not just a filmmaker, but an innovator also.

But Falling Angels is far more than sweepingly grand camera angles and cool pangs of intense lighting, there are character-driven pockets that utilise the vision well. As intermittent and sweeping its story may be, there is a fine and considerably strong narrative. A regretful hitman looking for a way out, the partner that never gives up on him, both professionally and personally. Clear contrasts are drawn up, and utilising the supporting characters as brief breaks for the audience to ruminate and simmer these thematics is not just beneficial, but truly integral to the pacing of this story. Leon Lai and Michelle Reis are spectacular, but is that really a surprise?

A truly fine work of art, Fallen Angels presents a director at the peak of his craft, spiralling and constructing a story that is both layered and effective. Technical merits alone cannot create a masterpiece, which is why it is so incredible to see Kar-wai blend his talents with characters who engage with the soundtrack and style choices well, leading to an artistic, action-packed thrill ride that looks to disseminate and destroy the underground crime scene. As close as it can be to art blurring seamlessly into plot-driven pockets of terrible people doing terrible things. Passion is a hard emotion to convey at times, especially through writing. No amount of synonyms or empty remarks can summarise the love for this one. A film that is better experienced than spoken of, because it is simply impossible to capture the energy and beauty found within.

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