Two couples move into neighbouring apartments in '60s Hong Kong. With their spouses away much of the time, the remaining couple gradually discover they have much in common. This comes to include the shocking discovery that each of their partners are having an affair. They confide in each other forthwith, but will vow never to be unfaithful to their respective partners hold?
Abandoning the overtly experimental style that has characterised his recent work, Wong Kar-Wai here opts for more traditional tactics in tracing the hesitant love affair between cuckolded Hong Kong neighbours, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung.
Wong recreates the '60s ambience with the same accumulation of small details that made his earlier Days Of Being Wild so authentic. Like that film, form takes precedence over content, and when the action shifts location towards the end one gets the impression that a much altered screenplay had received one last tweak. That said, it's a minor hiccup, and chaces are you'll be absorbed by the hypnotic qualities of the story that you won't notice, or at least you won't mind much, because this aside, it's an astounding achievement.
Creating credible characters out of almost nothing, the performances are masterly, and the photography beautiful. It's a genuinely romantic romance and makes for sublime cinema.
The performances are masterly, and the photography beautiful. A genuinely romantic romance.