Review: ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW 歲月神偷 (2009) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Review: ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW 歲月神偷 (2009)

Review: ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW 歲月神偷 (2009)

Told in the child's perspective of a goofy eight-year-old boy nicknamed Big Ears (Buzz Chung), he lives with his strict shoemaker father, Mr Law (Simon Yam), his street-smart mother, Mrs Law (Sandra Ng), and his 16-year-old brother, Desmond (Aarif Lee), a role model of his and athletic student who adores The Monkees. Big Ears has always dreamed of becoming an astronaut (in which he is frequently seen running around with a glass bubble in his head) and of course, eating a whole order of double-yolk moon cakes. Throughout the movie, we see him narrating the ongoing story of how his hardworking parents have been working day, running their little shoe store on a small neighbourhood street in Shamsuipo. Much of their earnings are spent for their sons' school fees. In the meantime, Desmond has been doing great at school while pursuing his first love with the wealthy and sweet-looking Flora (Evelyn Choi). Of course, it is also not forgotten that 1960s were among the turbulent era of a bad economy, corruption and typhoon that subsequently affected the life of the Law family. Worst still, it doesn't take long before Desmond is unexpectedly suffered from terminal illness and the Laws have a tough time trying to cope with their ongoing difficulties.

REVIEW: Based on writer-director Alex Law's own childhood memories, ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW is a good old-fashioned, slice-of-life melodrama that is rarely seen in Hong Kong cinema these days. On the bright side, this kind of long-forgotten genre is a refreshing comeback of sorts. The good news is, this movie is throughout engaging and heartwarming that successfully replicating the bygone era of the 1960s Hong Kong lifestyle. It's just too bad it falls short of the higher expectation of this would-be masterpiece of a cinematic experience: the movie is too cliched, melodramatic, borderline saccharine and at times preachy for its own good.

Alex Law's universal theme of family, love, hope and determination is beautifully captured here with earnest sentimentality. In addition to that, the movie's part of the success comes from its authentic local flavour that evokes the nostalgic memories -- the kind that audiences can identify with. Not forgetting also is Charlie Lam's soft-focused cinematography that effectively captured the 1960s Hong Kong and Alex Law's meticulous details over everything from its old setting right down to its costume with superb clarity.

But of course, ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW remains best seen for its excellent cast. Simon Yam is particularly top-notch in his perfectly subdued role as a cranky father whose emotion speaks a thousand word, while Sandra Ng in her usual witty self but heartfelt performance as the optimistic-minded mother. Still, two relative newcomers manage to steal much of the limelight from these two veterans. Singer Aarif Lee, who somewhat bears resemblance of Wang Lee Hom, is engaging and sympathetic. Buzz Chung is another striking revelation -- a child prodigy who is a natural in front of the camera -- and the kind of gifted actor who is destined for better future ahead.

The downside of the movie is Law's somewhat ignorance to convey the most political issues of the era that could have strengthened the overall drama. ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW is not as great as one might hope for, but as far as today's Hong Kong cinema goes, it's a kind of movie fairly deserved a standing ovation.

ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW is wonderful if cliched old-fashioned slice-of-life melodrama featuring a top-notch ensemble cast including Simon Yam and Sandra Ng.

1 comment:

c_cube said...

Hello, we are preordering Leehom Wang - Director's Etude photobook! preorder will end soon!visit for more details!