I am not Vietnamese. If I were, perhaps I would understand this movie on a different level. But my observations are as a Westerner, as someone who has lived in Asia for decades and as someone who has been involved in filmmaking and screenwriting for a long time.
The title is dramatic. Some of the images in this film are breathtaking, especially of the countryside. Some of the music is really superb. I am not sure if the music cues were purchased or whether someone actually wrote them specifically for this film. They sound like they belong in a film with a much bigger budget.
The plot of this film is so convoluted that it was nearly impossible to understand or follow. There is a supporting character with the worst wig I have ever seen, which was sad, because he had a beautiful face. Also, even though he plays key roles in the film, I had absolutely no idea who he was or how he was connected to any of the main players.
The director has a great eye for color and images. The cast, for the most part, is appealing, although only a few of them have actual acting talent. The problem is: the story can't decide if it's a tragic drama with a shocking twist, or a zany comedy, complete with 50s-style pop music, forced humor and over-the-top characters and situations.
Because this film has a "shocking" reveal late in the story ( I thought it was laughable, not shocking), I will not reveal it. But... if you are looking for a story about gay Vietnam, or even LGBTQ Vietnam, you are not going to find it here. It is much more soap opera-ish, with any number of incomprehensible moments. One of my favorites was when the father tells the son that he (and his wife) will "explain everything" to the son... after he graduates -- right after a traumatic situation. I kept thinking, "What are you waiting for? Why don't you tell him right now?" This happened several times in the movie and I basically stared at the screen with my mouth open, "Huh?"
There is obviously a great beauty to be seen in Vietnam. Some of the drone shots were breathtaking. Why it is that the director, who definitely has talent, decided to make this conflicted, confusing, ultimately unsatisfactory soap opera comedy melodrama is beyond me.
Also, anyone choosing to view this film for male eye candy -- there are about 2-3 seconds of fleeting male nudity, so, you will be wasting your time.
Some of the cast is extremely beautiful and they are very lovely to look at, and there is one young woman who plays comic relief, and she was great.
But, and I regret saying this, this film does not live up to its fantastic title, even though the production worked hard to connect the first major plot point with the last one.
Last, there is a really disturbing scene of one of young male leads pushing his supposedly pregnant fiancee so hard that she falls down. It was uncalled for and absolutely totally wrong. I don't know how anyone connected with this film could have approved of that moment.
My three stars are only for great cinematography. The sound was good, too. But the story...? No. It did not work.
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Cuong is an admirable man. He has a successful career, a beautiful wife, and a good son. However, his life begins to turn upside down when he discovers Thang - a friend of his son is related to Trung, his gay lover in the past.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
October 25, 2022 at 01:02 PM