Monday, March 06, 2006

Three... Extremes

Three... Extremes is quite an intriguing movie. I've long been a fan of anthology films and wish there was a market for more of them. This one is three short films, the first, "Dumplings", is by Fruit Chan, the second, "Cut", is by Chan-wook Park, and the third, "Box" is by Takashi Miike. In Asia, of course, this plays as three films, each representing a different culture. In the U.S., sadly, it's merely three Asian films.

"Dumplings" seems to have the lowest reputation among American viewers. I'm guessing that many missed the humor... or were merely disappointed that it was only a black comedy. It is, however, a painfully funny movie, featuring an hilarious performance by Bai Ling as a woman who sells fetus dumplings for their restorative value. There's definitely some thinking stuff going on as well, which, honestly, I'm still thinking on, but just kick back and have a laugh and a squirm.

I found "Cut" to be the weakest segment. Perhaps, after enjoying Oldboy so much, my expectations were raised too high. Ultimately, it seemed to be more of the same, though, only this time overdirected. I understood the joke of it being overdirected because the segment was about a director, etc., but I still found it distracting. That's a minor complaint, though, as I found it quite entertaining.

"Box" is solidly the most brilliant. Miike took this opportunity to make something much different than he was able to make under other cirmcumstances. It's a movie about the things you don't usually notice, the silences instead of the noise, the moments they don't usually show, hiding the story, such as it is, in the corner. Arguably in one of the films many boxes. It's a fascinating and inspiring movie that's ubdoubtedly not for everyone, but certainly aspires to the most by far and I'd say makes its way fully above the others in how it succeeds as well.

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