HK director Mabel Cheung has decided to turn her attention to the underground Beijing rock scene in which she captures the sweaty desperation, energy and frenzy of this movement with much success.
Or perhaps that was also the brilliance of Crouching Tiger cinematographer Peter Pau?
Michael [Daniel Wu], a troubled HK singer songwriter, tags along with Lu [Geng Le], the charismatic lead singer of a hard core Beijing band while awaiting trial for behaviour misdemeanour [he started a fight in a pub. Oo-er.] Michael experiences the bumpy life of a Beijing band on the run, finding inspiration for his shallow songs but things get complicated when he falls for Lu’s girlfriend, Yang Yin [Shu Qi]
Subject-wise the underground rock scene provides fascinating insight and this is where it works best, the visceral energy and vibrancy is so undeniable that everything else comes off looking cheap and out of place [that includes the love triangle].
However, there’s plenty going on and plenty to eyeball in the film – sweaty rock boys and rock girls, the night life, the HK/China cultural differences, the strip shows, the Beijing rocker’s life on the road, running from the law. So much so that the film never reaches a climax. Or perhaps it’s been traveling on a high from start to finish? You decide for yourself – I was engrossed for most of the film.