Oh my, this movie has been on my most anticipated list for two years now. If you haven’t seen the 5 minute promo reel online, do yourself a favor and check it out. First of all, you’ll be hard press to find another movie with a more appealing cast than I Come With The Rain. It features a who’s who of Asian cinema and throws in a decent Hollywood leading man for good measure. Then there’s art house favorite Tran Anh Hung behind the camera, getting carte blanche to go all art house on us. To top it all off, the movie features a gloomy Radiohead soundtrack that’s sure to get all the cool kids drooling.
So why did this movie get designated to the wasteland where all unreleased movies go? It came and went in Japan and Korea and I don’t know if there will ever be a North American release. So what happened?
Well, lets get into the plot first. Josh Hartnett plays Kline a cop turned private detective who after a very nasty encounter with a serial killer (Elias koteas) is left emotionally traumatized. He’s hired by the head honcho of a pharmaceutical company to find his long estranged son Shitao (Takuya kimura), who’s apparently slumming it in the Philippines. Once Kline arrives, the detective who was originally hired to find Shitao believes that miners have killed him but still nevertheless convinces him to go to Hong Kong to get to the bottom of it.. From there he hooks up with a buddy Meng Zi (Shawn Yu), who conveniently happens to be a cop ends up bumping heads with a ruthless crime boss Su Dongpo (Lee Byung-hun).
So as you can tell, I Come With The Rain presents itself as a psychological cat and mouse thriller but in actuality is a bona fide art house offering. Hung lavishly fills each frame with a saturated colour palette, awkward camera angles and a moody soundtrack. All of this works if you’re content with the story being secondary and action being replaced with characters stuck in a meditative state. I for one appreciated the craft and the hypnotic pacing of the movie but I can definitely see people being turned off by the excessive of it all.
Acting wise, everyone is pretty much bringing it full force. Shawn Yu is refreshingly solid as the arrogant cop who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. Koteas is appropriately sinister as Hasford the serial killer, while Byung-hun’s Dongpo is brutal and oddly sympathetic at the same time. The most surprising though of the bunch is Hartnett who is able to convey his character’s crippling sense of dread without ever going overboard. His Kline is a tortured mess who’s constantly on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
A knock against the movie would be that Hung crams every frame with some sort of biblical reference which by the end gets really tiresome. Also, as cool as the Radiohead soundtrack is, it gets to a point where you’re wondering if this is a music video you’re watching.
An uneven movie that is at times startling, meandering and eerily beautiful. It’s overstuffed with style but lacking in substance. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing, heck, Wong Kar Wai made an entire career out of it.