x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

My Blueberry Nights

The vistas are, as you would expect, gorgeously lensed by Darius Khondji, and the woozy, bluesy soundtrack, seared with Nighthawks at the Diner-wryness, is a stunner.

Miss American Pie: Norah Jones (bottom right) sets out on a road trip into the heart of lightness in <i>My Blueberry Nights</i>.
Miss American Pie: Norah Jones (bottom right) sets out on a road trip into the heart of lightness in My Blueberry Nights.


What happens to world-class auteurs when they make their American debuts is a curious thing. Andrew Lau turned in a sub-B movie with The Flock. Oliver Hirschbiegel's The Invasion was radioactive pulp. What these English-language debuts do share is an obsession with the widescreen-ready, open American landscape. While Wong is as much enamoured with this panorama - and his insistence on refracting his actors' faces through panes of glass or bright neon lights comes to be quite kitsch - this attempt at Americana doesn't belong in that roll-call of shame. The critics who launched an assault upon My Blueberry Nights' cinematic release were taking aim at those moments they universally adored in Wong's Hong Kong work: the impressionistic abandon of Chungking Express; In the Mood for Love's lonely longing. It is all here, albeit in translated form. Norah Jones is this road movie's rookie rolling stone, setting out into the heart of lightness to learn from the Who's Who of recent Oscar-courted talent - Jude Law, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman - if love can survive separation. The vistas are, as you would expect, gorgeously lensed by Darius Khondji, and the woozy, bluesy soundtrack, seared with Nighthawks at the Diner-wryness, is a stunner.
afeshareki@thenational.ae