Wong Kar-wai, 1994
Wong Kar-wai (a.k.a. WKW) lets us unwind with Chungking Express, which is more laid-back compared with his intense martial arts drama Ashes of Time. Chungking Express is a feel-good movie wherein canned pineapples, stuff toy, towels, chef salad, and The Mamas and the Papas’ California Dreamin’ are one of the characters.
Meanwhile, Cop 663 (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) is a craggily charming cop in uniform. His girlfriend also broke up with him, but he doesn’t eat expired canned pineapples. Instead, he talks to a stuff toy, a bar of soap, towels, and even to a uniform. He frequently dines at the Midnight Express food stall, where Faye (Faye Wong) works. Faye is a pretty, slim, and enigmatic girl who digs the song California Dreamin’. She falls for Cop 663 without him knowing it. She obtains a key to his apartment and sneaks to his place to clean it and arrange his things (her way of showing her affection). Cop 663 eventually finds out about Faye’s endeavors in his place and — instead of being mad — asks her for a date. Is it love or loneliness on Cop 663’s part?
Chungking Express is a film that delves more into the character rather than the plot. Most of WKW’s films are into the growth of a character, which works very well. The characters in Chungking Express are not extraordinary people, they’re just like those people we see every day. What’s great about the characters are their effectiveness; some audiences might find them quirky, while some might find a deep sense of connection with them.
Chungking Express is one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films. He even introduced the film to North American audiences by backing up its US release.
My rating: 9/10 – Chungking Express is WKW’s best film, so far.
Trailer for Chungking Express:
DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringement intended. I don’t own or claim to own any of the photos used.