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I first heard the huanting music to this film which whet my curiosity to search out the film, and on the strength of the reviews on Amazon I bough the dvd and its second part, "2046" which I have yet to see. It is undoubtedly a good film, the characters are played well, the editing is razor-sharp and in the early scenes set in the cramped alleyways and tenements of 1960s Hong Kong it is very convincing. It does lose its way a bit, particularly towards the end where it does become very vague to the point of irritation. Perhaps the director had always intended to make a sequel and left it that way. Those of you who hate reading sub-titles will find it quite a challenge flipping between reading these and not missing the fine acting - it certainly requires your complete concentration or you can get lost in it. Some of your reviewers have perhaps been too gushing in their praise of this film - yes it is good, and certainly above the run of the mill romance, but I doubt if it would anyone's top 50 must see films. About 3.0 to 3.5 stars is about right for this film.
I found the DVD version of this movie interesting and enjoyable, but it made me sorry I missed th movie when it came to the cinemas around the year 2000. It is a movie that I think really needs a cinema screen to do it justice, and, very oddly, some crucial scenes appear to have been omitted from the DVD version, which makes an important part of it rather puzzling. Fortunately, the missing scenes are available on YouTube! Later I downloaded the haunting theme tune from iTunes.
I'm a big Leung Chiu Wai fan, but I found this a bit boring, possibly after all the hype I'd read about it before seeing it. It was fine, definitely worth seeing. Not sure I'd choose to own it long-term if there was a cheaper alternative of just seeing it once.