Directed by Korean-American director Jieho Lee, infused with the basis on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones, The Air I Breathe is a real tour de force of a film. I love films that tell stories about lives that impact other lives through small coincidental moments. Call me cheesy, but I love them. The film is about breaking boundaries to find a moment of passion and of real humanity, regardless of the consequences. There is a lot going on here, on multiple levels, and so it is only natural that the movie seems a little too short. I can’t begin to type out a full synopsis of the plot but what I can tell you is that the story was based on a Chinese proverb where happiness, sorrow, pleasure, and love all interact with each other for a greater purpose.
The Air I Breathe attempts to weave the lives of different people all into one story. Yes, the biggest problem is the screenplay, and the running time is really short. However, the rushed feeling has a positive side to it. The film never gets boring. Still, I think I would’ve appreciated it had it ran on two-hours instead of not enough time. Love’s connection to Fingers, like the others, would’ve been a much appreciated addition but instead he is not and seems like a character who is not even much a character as much as he is simply a supporting personality thrown in to even things out. But there’s more to it, and it takes patience and thought to get to the point of it.
Forest Whitaker’s is the most solid stand- alone story: the unsatisfied bank clerk who takes a risk and has his life run away with him into scenarios that he would never dream of. No material needs can fill the void of actually living, whether living wealthy or poorly, it is the act of adventure and excitement that is necessary to enjoy. His final reaction of pure adulation is the best part of the film and it happens about twenty minutes in. Curve balls aside, Jieho Lee wrote and directed this movie and did a brilliant job especially considering that it was his first full movie. I especially loved the scene were Whitaker tries to leap over the stairs with his little scooter…The cinematography during the scenes in the alley with Pleasure were stunning, showing a darker side to his world.
If you couldn’t tell, how I’ve been glowing over the performances, the cast of this film is great – I cannot pick a single actor over the other because the entire cast gives their best performaces they can. This film unravels in a Tarantinoesque way and gives you a visceral look into the lives of the characters it follows. Unrelenting and unapologetically the story unfolds in chapter like segments with outstanding acting by all the cast. The film races from one situation to the next without building up any feeling for the characters involved to the point where when something happens where your supposed to concerned about you really don’t care, all your concerned about is how it will effect the end of the film. Put simply, this ponderous melding of noirish crime melodrama and nihilistic character study is for the audience who really loved the formula of “Crash”. All in all the movie was good, it kept me interested the entire time and was worth watching in my opinion.