Ashes of Time Redux (Wong, 1994/2008)

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Wong Kar-Wai takes his time revealing the thematic motivations and concerns within Ashes of Time Redux, a gorgeous remastering of his 1994 Martial arts film. But as Wong’s trademark ruminations on love, honor, and guilt finally connect with the often violent and mystical Samurai narrative, the film achieves a devastating melancholy worthy of its genre. No other director addresses the haunting theme of lost love with such clarity and honesty, and Ashes of Time Redux, while disjointed and sloppy at times, provides many fateful moments drenched in heartache. The film stars a who’s who of Hong Kong stars doing their best at tragedy, and Wong guides each longing face into a realm of suffering that never quite feels permanent, yet remains impacting and genuine.

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2 thoughts on “Ashes of Time Redux (Wong, 1994/2008)

  1. I’ve got to say that I found this movie one of the silliest, most ridiculous I have ever seen. The subtitles alone were utterly cringe-worthy: cliche atop redundancy and so ill-attuned to its supposed time. However, I realize that I am practically alone in this opinion. Also, I never saw any of the earlier versions. But if enjoying this film depends upon seeing an earlier version, then put out a double disc DVD, for Christ’s sake!

  2. Jim – it’s certainly overly melodramatic to a fault, and drags at times, but by the end, it resonated deeply with me, mostly because Wong finally transcends the dynamic images and shows the true melancholy of the characters, and also maybe most of all because it stars the forlorn Leslie Cheung, a superb talent who tragically committed suicide in 2003.

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