SYNOPSIS: Two years after killing serial murderer Hasford in the line of duty, ex-cop Kline now works as a private detective, haunted by the ghosts of his past. A powerful pharmaceutical conglomerate boss hires Kline to find his only son Shitao, who has mysteriously disappeared in the Philippines where he had been helping in an orphanage. [IMDb] That’s when it starts getting weirder, revealing itself as certifiably bonkers, and may put into your head images of Walden and Thoreau in a boat on a lake, discussing what lies beneath the visible depths. Then stamp a “Graphic Content” disclaimer on top. Yep.
REVIEW: Where does one begin a review for a film that could easily been spread out into a trilogy? I think a good place to start is confessing that even if this hyper-dense tale of literal punch and philosophical loftiness were 3x as long, I’d get 3x the pleasure. Written and directed by Anh Hung Tran, this Josh Hartnett vehicle helps provides an answer to the nagging question on everyone’s mind, “Where the hell did that guy go?” Expertly acted, the character Kline is the focal point on a mural, dragging brushes of red behind him and covering the span of the canvas in swirls and hard lines, managing to look alone when sharing the camera and virginal in his pain. Accompanied by main characters Meng Zi (Shawn Yue), Lili (Tran Nu Yên-Khê), Su Dongpo (Byung-hun Lee), Shitao (Takuya Kimura), and Hasford (Elias Koteas), the film spans life trades, business occupations, mental dispositions, emotional states of being, countries and continents, creating numerous stories within a story, some with enough symbolism and imagery to fill a religious tome until finally tethering the whole ordeal together with bloody piano wire. The highlight of the film, personally, is the consistent and venerable acting chops of Mr. THE PROPHECY himself, Casey Jones. Elias Koteas creates a symphony of art (you’ll see what I mean) as the now deceased serial killer Hasford, with lines delivered like an assassin, his movements cutting the screen in half, so methodical and convincing. One of the best murderer characters I’ve seen on the big or small screen in years, the chemistry between Hartnett’s Kline and him creates an almost harrowing ordeal to watch. Almost. Truly, my hat is off to them in particular, and the rest of the cast as well, for delivering probably exactly what was requested of them, and with gusto. Visually it’s as gorgeous as one would expect with it’s urban black and biological green jungles alike, if a bit on the digital camera side of things.
Regretfully, I can’t stop the review there. Much of my appreciation for the film comes in spite of the film, a 114 minute experience that may have you scratching your head when you’d rather scratch your ass at something more comprehensible. As I said before, I COME WITH THE RAIN could easily have been fleshed out into a couple additional films, allowing the concepts being hurled at you to be done so with precision, and not from a different place every time you watch the film. I quite enjoy (sometimes) being allowed to make the film my own, Mad Libs style, but for complexity of the story and how brazen it’s stance to be a metaphor wrapped in “Huh?”, not nearly enough time was spent creating the necessary settings and contexts. Another weak link was the soundtrack. While competent, it faltered in areas and detracted from what was happening on screen, most heavily in the second half. However, some redemption points are awarded for the inclusion of Explosions In the Sky during a pivotal scene, and it being one of the best songs from what I feel to be their best album. Which song, which album? Watch.
THE SCORE: Calculating a score was a bit of a let down for me as my like of the film isn’t reflected in my objective judgment, and I very much want to sell this as being a “probably should see”. Really, it’s a “maybe you should see” flick, but if you like any of the actors you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice by passing this one up.