Regular readers will know the love I have for just about any movie the Pang Brothers have a hand in, and “In Love With The Dead” is no exception. Danny Pang is behind the camera for this one, and he once again delivers.
Designer Ming (Shawn Yue) lives with his girlfriend Wai (Stephy Tang) and her younger sister. Wai is diagnosed on with pancreatic cancer early on in the movie, with little or no chance of recovery. Ming sacrifices his career to spend more time with Wai, and takes on a lesser job at a new company. He is surprised to find his new boss, Fong (Yung-yung Yue), is a childhood friend of both. As Wai’s health worsens, and her behaviour becomes more unpredictable, eschewing Western Medicine for something more Eastern and Spiritual. Despite his love and desire to care for Wai, Ming finds himself getting closer to Fong, culminating in a tryst during a business trip to China and and intense affair in the following days.
This is of course a Pang Bros. film, so things are never quite as they seem. To say more would be to spoil the final act, which is more disturbing than I expected.
Danny Pang uses a muted colour palette and subtle score combined with an enhanced use of ambient noise to imbue this film with a sense of longing and sadness, whilst always interesting the viewer with the hint of the unknown. He also uses his usual technique of hurrying on the movie by use of the occasional montage to break up the long talky scenes that make up the bulk of the film.
The film asks a lot of questions, questions about how far would you go to attempt to get better from a probably terminal illness? How far would you go for a loved one who was suffering? Movies of this nature do not usually get me thinking quite so hard about such issues, so it is to the movies credit that it gives the viewer such an opportunity.
I think many may take issue with the movie as the audience may be expecting a supernatural twist at the end, as there is certainly a lot of suggestion that this might be the case during the build-up to the final revelation. Personally, I am more than ok with this, as it is all part of the expert misdirection.
I was really impressed with Shawn Yue, and I am going to check out some of his other work, but he handles the burden of being the main character well.
Possibly the film unravels far too late in its’ running time, delivering a couple of twists (well maybe a twist that is then twisted again) very late in the day, not giving the viewer quite enough time to process what has been delivered before the final credits roll. As usual with such movies, the second viewing could be as equally rewarding.
So, another highly recommended film, and whilst not my favourite Pang Bros. opus, it is certainly well worthy of your time.