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I come with the Rain June 16, 2009

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Asian Cinema , trackback

Josh Hartnett plays ex LA cop Kline who goes to Hong Kong in search of a Billionaire’s Son named Shitao (Takuya Kimura). Helped by a ex colleague, Shawn Yue the two search for Shita and cross paths with gangster Dongpo (Byung Hung Lee) as each become entangled in the search while Shitao himself displays extraordinary healing powers to homeless people.
Directed by one of my favorite Directors whose films have a highly effecting nature on me I was excited to see his first English movie on the big screen. Tran Anh Hung had conceived the idea for “I come with the Rain” years ago when he was filming Cyclo.

This isn’t your typical Thriller of the ex cop finding someone lost. It’s a heavy film, visually, it depends heavily on what it shows more than dialogue and the imagery can be brutal in that regard. The first 30 minutes play out pretty normal but as we delve deeper into each character psych the film too becomes more and more erratic. The film jumps back and forth through different events in the characters lives, sometimes a bit confusing as to what is actually taking place in the present, but it gives the film a timeless almost dreamlike quality with no beginning or end. You could say the story is split over three character and their anguish. Hartnett, Kimura and Byung-Hung Lee. The City of Hong Kong is a beautiful setting for a film like this and has a realistic feel since the movie was shot on video.

Hartnett is quite good as the tormented ex Detective as we see his past and present are intertwined. As he gets deeper into his case and search for Shitao he becomes obsessed. Leaving behind his 5 star Hotel for a shabby murder scene apartment in order to get inside the mind of Shita and lose himself in the heart of the City. He adorns his walls with the photographs of Shita’s body with cuts all over it, trying to understand.

Byung-hung Lee perhaps had the most interesting role as the Hong Kong gangster whose love runs so deep he would do anything to keep the woman he loves (Played by the Directors beautiful Wife, Tran Nu Yên-Khê). yet for all his love he is still a vicious brute who’s willing to put a bullet in anyone who slander’s his girls name. It’s not mentioned at all in the movie but it might be worth noting that the characters Lili and Dongpo grew up together in the same orphanage and Lili witnessed Dongpo comit murder in his teens.

Some scenes of Takuya don’t work too well. At one stage there is a scene that resembles Passion of the Christ a little too closely, so much so that one might think it was a parody given the film’s setting. I couldn’t watch that scene without immediately thinking of that other movie and it felt a little embarrassing. It doesn’t help that Kimura under plays it. He’s really great in those Gatsby ads though.

In a Tokyo interview Tran said that the casting took a long time but I’m not quite sure I buy that since he cast some well handsome men in this movie who are popular across asia maybe more for their good looks than anything else.

As for the Film’s title Tran had this to say

Q: Regarding the title “I Come With the Rain”,
why is it “Come” ” with the Rain?”

A: Tran Anh Hung
When I wrote the script for the first time ,I had an image that when
Jesus appears, it’s always raining. However, while revising the script,
the rain slipped off some time or other. (laugh) So “the Rain” can be
found only in the title. But for me, rain’s motif inspired me a lot.

For all the symbolism you might come out of the theatre scratching your head as Tran literally nails it to a cross and if this is your first Tran Anh Hung film you might be throwing yourself in the deep end here. For those faint of heart you might get squamish in some scenes that borrow heavily from the works of Irish Painter Francis Bacon.

Tran Anh Hung’s next Film is an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood. I ‘m rather looking forward to this as I am a fan of Murakami. I had imagined maybe someone like Wong Kar Wai directing this but I think Tran Anh Hung is a director very capable of doing the material justice. It took 5 years to get permission from Murakami to finally make this movie, lets hope it was worth the wait.


1. AlienZ - June 16, 2009

Thanks a lot for the review. I’m as well a huge fan of Tran Anh Hung’s work. I hope the movie will be released in France soon. I just have one question : so, did you like the movie ?

2. oldboy - June 17, 2009

I liked it. But I will say that it’s not Tran’s best work. I also think the film has some problems such as Shita as Christ analogy which really doesn’t work and brings the film down a notch or two.

3. AlienZ - June 17, 2009

Thanks for replying. May I dare ask what is your favourite Tran’s movie? So far since I haven’t seen ICWTR I would say Cyclo although sometimes I found the rythm is too slow when the plot is getting violent. Back to ICWTR, can the character of Shitao could not be considered as a divine messenger rather than a Christ? I share your opinion that Tran casted Takuya Kimura under the pressure of the producers. I have always found his performance in 2046 very weak. Otherwise, I have a great interview of Tran about ICWTR but it is in French? Can you read French? Are you interested? Just let me know. Salut Oldboy !

4. oldboy - June 17, 2009

Thank you, but unfortunately I can’t read French.
My favorite movie of Tran’s is “The Scent of Green Papaya”. It’s a really beautiful movie.
I don’t think Shitao can be seen as a divine messenger because (Spoilers) near the end he is nailed to a cross and says “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”. I might disregard this as just the talk of a madman if it were not for his extraordinary healing powers and the fact that he comes back from the dead.

5. AlienZ - June 17, 2009

Alright, thanks Oldboy. I guess I have just to wait now for the movie to be released at last in France. “The Scent of Green Papaya” was a great piece indeed.

6. Annielicious - June 18, 2009

Thanks for the information.!

Any Josh news, is good news!!

Can I post this on our fan site and indicate you as the source? I would need to use the picture. Please let me know!

7. film lover - June 18, 2009

Thanks for the review. Well, what did you think of Byung-hun Lee’s performance?

8. Bunta Sugawara - June 18, 2009

Can I ask where you saw this? I’ve been interested in seeing it for a while.

9. oldboy - June 18, 2009

Annielicious, yes of course. I would be delighted.

film lover - Byung-Hun Lee gave perhaps my favorite performance in the film. He and Josh Hartnett brought the film to another level with their excellent acting. I think Byung Hun Lee is becoming more and more suited to playing bad guys.

Bunta Sugawara - I saw this at Toho Cinemas at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.

Thank you all for your comments!

10. film lover - June 18, 2009

Thanks, oldboy, for your comments on Byung-hun Lee’s performance. I hope the movie will be released worldwide.

11. oldboy - June 18, 2009

You’re welcome. I’m sure it will get released worldwide soon since the movie is all spoken in English.

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