Wong Kar-Wai has become one of my favorite directors. He explores the transitory nature of life here. It’s a little confusing, and the characters are beyond weird, but they really do have heart. The story tells of three individuals whose lives intersect. A hitman who is getting tired of the messiness of his job; his partner, who plans everything out for him in meticulous detail but would really like to cross the line with him between business and pleasure; a mute, who breaks into other people’s businesses at night and forces unwitting passersby to purchase his wares. They rarely ever meet, but they share the same spaces, and sleep the same hours.
Fallen Angel’s strength lies in the character development. He goes out at night and gets up to a range of activities such as massaging a dead pig and kidnapping a family and forcing them to eat ice cream. It’s some pretty crazy stuff. If one has a habit or likes to talks to oneself in an imaginary public sector, then one will find Fallen Angels so heartbreaking due to its prominent use of voice-over.
It is so different from what we generally get from mainstream movies nowadays. Sure, there is action and a cast of famous Hong Kong actors who represent the image of the times perfectly and this helps set the tone but the director makes this movie about people. As these complexities might indicate, Fallen Angels repays repeated viewing in the sense that your understanding of the film will deepen, as will its emotional impact. The only thing that stuck out as odd for me was the occasional outbursts of Yakuza style violence by the hit-man who appears to have free run of the entire city, which seemed a bit odd and out of place to me but Wai would probably laugh at anyone taking this plot too seriously.
The film is absolutely stunning on blu-ray. In Fallen Angels we travel the gritty back alleys into underworld dives, dreary dive bars juxtaposed against a brightly-lit McDonalds. We have the mute, entertaining, colorful personality character who also lurks his way with his scooter at night to run his imaginary jobs at random shops and restuarant. An interesting character but my interest always followed the hitman. Fallen Angels is a movie that combines fast moving action, slow growing relationships, and light hearted comedy. It captures the complexity of emotions with simplicity that is blunt and unrivaled. It portrays an assassin reticent to love, and a big-hearted optimist eager to please. Make sure you rush out to see this film piece of cinema.