“You notice things if you pay attention.”are wise words spoken by Mrs Chan,the female lead in this gentle voice of a film that cuts through the white noise that is modern film making.Films nowadays have become crass and predictable and there is no room for ones imagination or wondering.Romance itself has become predictable, we always know that the man and woman who we meet at the beginning of the film will somehow, beat the odds and end up together, come hell or high water.
This film has a subtle voice to it without it being right in the face.it tells you a tale about a man and a woman who at first aren’t together but intact they have significant others,both the spouses of these bold individuals do not give them the light of day and are not invested in their relationship as a married man or woman.
One thing that is constant throughout the film is the gaps or blank spaces as I like to call it,at first one would think that they disrupt the flow of the story and that it makes it harder to understand and connect 2 parts of the film, but I feel that at some level these spaces were needed to tell the story through a deeper lens.We needed the feeling of actually thinking about the storyline and how the director forces our minds to delve deeper into his marvel of a movie.
Conversations is a topic that needs to be picked up more often, as it creates substance throughout the film watching journey.This film depends heavily on its conversation or sometimes even lack of them.Throughout the film we witness scenes in which we heavily rely on our sense of sound and we have to shut off the sense of sight which is ironic since this review comes under the same.The stream of images that we go through are almost always of objects like a clock which is shown multiple times while a conversation is taking place between the two characters.We are in a way made to focus on the sound of their voices as we can’t physically see the actual people.This way there is more stress laid on the dialogues and how they carry with them the heaviness that weighs down both the peoples hearts and how sometimes it plays at their heartstrings.
The whole idea of both the characters being denied the love they deserve from their spouses is shown so evidently and subtly at the same time.Mr Chan and Mrs Chow are never physically shown and their absence in the lives of their spouses is directly in relation to their absence on screen and this love story.We feel as though their presence has lost its meaning in the couples lives and now they play supporting characters in their lives.
The outfits that the characters wear have distinct styles in them, the woman chooses to wear floral and printed dresses that have a long neck and as the days go by the colours on the clothes get brighter, to show the change in her happiness with him.When I first saw the man, the first image that came to my mind was that of Don Draper in Mad Men as the dressing sense was uncanny, the grey suit and the slicked back hair puts you back in that Era.We live the decade almost vicariously through the characters and the setting thats created with the authentic type writers making the typical sound you would hear in a 60’s office.The aspect of being transported to a different time is marvellously executed in this film with the authenticity and care taken to make the set.
When the couple share intimate moments with each other, the camera almost always focus’s on the gold wedding band on his finger to prove that he is still bound by the relationship he shared with his absent spouse and that no matter what it is a tie that he can never truly sever.The woman seems distant with the man at first and all of a sudden breaks down on him when she realises she is caught up in the sam situation as Mr Chow’s wife.
They pretend to live the lives of the other’s spouses and go through with having an affair of their own.In a way they are also putting themselves in the shoes of the former,to understand why the events took place.
Towards the end of the film we realise that all the characters that were in abundance in the beginning have dwindled down to just two and how their story should be the main focus and the only ones needed to be remembered are the ones this tale started with.