Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A Glass of Wine at the Movies - Are You Lonesome Tonight?


Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Rating:  Not Rated

Director: Shipei Wen

Language: Chinese (with subtitles)

Length: 95 minutes

Cast: Eddie Peng, Sylvia Chang, Wang Yanhui

Viewing Method: TIFF Digital Screening

Release Date: June 12, 2021 (China release date)

Synopsis: On a dark night, Xueming hits a pedestrian with his car and flees the scene. Desperate to escape his feelings of guilt, he decides to approach the dead man's wife, Mrs. Liang. Meanwhile, the body is discovered -- riddled with bullets. Chen, the detective in charge of the investigation, becomes obsessed with the case. Years later, all three remain caught in a tangled web of memories and lies, desperately searching for a truth that refuses to be revealed...


Have you ever seen a movie where all the elements are there - the acting is good, the story is decent, the directing shows promise - only to end up feeling lukewarm towards the movie? That is Is You Lonesome Tonight for me. It just a movie that feels too similar to other movies like it and doesn't stand out as something all its own.

The plot is one that has been done before. A man is driving late one night and hits something. He discovers he has run over a person and they are dead. He feels guilty and decides to check in on the man's widow to see if she is okay/how he can help her. This sets off a chain of events that reveals that there may be more to the story and that the man he ran over may not be what he appears to be.

The director takes a few creative risks that make the film a little more interesting but it felt like something I had seen before. The gritty visuals match the story rather well, and the director makes great use of the setting to create something visually interesting. Nothing, however, stood out to me, particularly plot wise. The acting is perfectly fine, but nothing you would gush over. The tow leads, Eddie Peng and Sylvia Chang, offer subtle but effective performances. It is ultimately ends up being an okay movie that leaves you wishing it offered just a little bit more.

I left this movie feeling indifferent towards it. I neither loved not hated it. I didn't resent the time sent watching it but I also do not want to highly recommend it to others. If the genre is your thing, especially if you like foreign films, this may be for you. Otherwise I expect you have seen more than  a few movies like it.

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