TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER
(15) 100 mins 00..
Hot on the heels of Crouching Tiger. Hidden Dragon's magnificent re- invention of the kung fu movie comes another film from the Far East that'll make you feel like your first cinema experience all over again: Tears Of The Black Tiger, a Thai western.
Genre fans will be able to pick out the camaraderie between gunslingers found in John Ford films. the idiosyncratic strains of Ennio Morricone's soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Spaghetti westerns and the bloodthirsty slow motion gunfights that pepper Sam Peckinpah's movies (behold teeth flying through the air). But from the opening scene, in which beautiful young Rumpoey (Stella Malucchi) shelters in a sa/a from a downpour while awaiting her man, Dum (Chartchai Ngamsan), the glorious over-saturated colour of her red lipstick and the surrounding purple water lilies suggest we're in a Douglas Sirk melodrama. Or the Thai melodramas from the 508 and 60s.
Styles. characters and themes are cleverly parodied in this ‘noodle western‘, but also given a modern spin. Thus scenes open with iris shots, play against obvious back projection and cut to the next scene with wipes (think Saturday morning adventure serialS). The pacing, however, is as dynamic as a John Woo bullet ballet. Likewise. the stOry evokes Thai cinema's past, but blends the traditional tale of Rumpoey and Dum's impossible love (her father's the local governor; Dum's alter ego is Black Tiger, top gunman of the bandit chief, Fai) with modern cynicism and existential angst.
Testifying to what a labour of love Black Tiger is for
Exuberant, camp, vulgar, wonderful
debuting director Wisit Sasanatieng, in Thailand the film was marketed using retro promotional techniques: a novel serialisation in a popular magazine, hand coloured postcard pOrtraits of the leading actors and a drama serial for radio. it was worth it. Tears Of The Black Tiger is exuberant, camp and vulgar and as such, thoroughly, wonderfully bizarre. The resurgence of Thai cinema starts here. (Miles Fielder)
I GFT. Glasgow From Fri 24 Aug.
ADVENTURE p“ A KNIGHT’S TALE (PG) 132 mins .00
Just like its protagonist A Knight’s Tale triumphs against all odds to beat the rival blockbusters Jurassic Park //I and Planet Of The Apes as this Summer‘s most entertaining piece of Hollywood trash. What writer-directOr Brian Helgeland‘s (LA. Confidential, Conspiracy Theory, Payback) film has over the seouels and remakes is some degree of originality in his basic c0ncept. a playful sense of humOur and an emphasis on character interaction.
After his master dies half way through competing in a jousting tournament in medieval France. peasant William Thatcher (Heath Ledger) dons his Suit of armour and drags begrudging pals Roland (Mark Addy) and Wat (Alan Tudyk) across Europe towards victory. However. changing one's destiny is easier said than done in a society rooted in class divide. the affluent side of which is represented by champion jouster Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell playing another thorough cad). Nevertheless. the working class heroes are helped in their quest by vi/idow-turned- blacksmith Kate (Laura Fraser) and performance poet ‘Geoff' Chaucer (Paul Bettany in a scene — if not film — stealing role).
14 THE LIST 23 Aug-6 Sec 200‘
The most notable thing, however. about A Knight’s Tale is its anachronistic soundtrack. Thus. the film's opening mOntage of lance-Splintering iousting unspools to the ba-doom thump drum roll and squealing electric guitar of Queen's 'We Will Rock You'. Later a court dance beg'ns with period music before mOrphing into DaVid Bowie's 'Golden Years'. it's a dodgy conceit. and one that's been used before (in Plunkett 8 Mac/eane which features an almost identical scene). Helgeland pulls it off, though, extending his conceit so
This summer’s most entertaining piece of Hollywood trash
that when the qumtet return home to London for the tournament finale not only are they heralded by Thin Lizzy's “The Boys Are Back In Town', but they're welcomed by fans with flags painted on their faces - this is the 1998 World Cup all over again.
Add in handsome performances all round and smarting combat seduences and you’ve got just about the best you can expect from Hollywood these days. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 37 Aug. See feature, page 8.
ROMANCE ANGEL EYES (15) 102 mins .00
Angel Eyes follows in the vein of all those supernatural romances that have come and gone since Ghost. but in this case it isn't clear if our protagonists are interacting spookily or not. Poor Sharon Pogue could do with a guardian angel at any rate; she is a hard, lonesome policewoman with a bunch of emotionally retentive cops for company and a screwed up family who don't want her. She is also Jennifer Lopez, but this. from Sharon's point of view hasn't helped much.
Surprisingly warm Jennifer Lopez romance
Sharon is single and clearly terrified of intimacy. One day she chases some drive-by gunmen and, at the point of being shot, is saved by a mysterious man (Jim Caviezel). He turns out not only to be the man she encouraged to stay alive (did he or didn’t he?) after a crash. but also the Right One to heal her fear Of intimaCy.
Angel Eyes gets off to a wooden start and it is immediately clear that triple helpings of cheese are going to be consumed before the closing credits. And yet it is also a surprisingly warm film, affirming the healing power inherent in love. (Hannah Fries)