I’m a big fan of Wong Kar Wai’s work in general so normally come to any of his films with a strong bias towards liking them, which is to say that while I enjoyed Ashes of Time Redux, I have to acknowledge that if I’d sat down to watch it with less pre-cached good will I may not have come away with as positive a view.
Despite the circumstances of reconstituting the film from various sources, Ashes of Time Redux held up well visually as you’d expect from a Wong Kar Wai / Christopher Doyle collaboration and although the style of the fight scenes initially came across as a confusing blur, once I’d settle into a trusting mindset that Wai would pause long enough to show me what I needed to see, I warmed to them as the film progressed. What did leave me wanting though was attempting to following the narrative weaved as it was from multiple overlapping love triangles. There were moments when I thought I’d locked down the connections of who slighted, abandoned or pinned for whom, but the following scene would replace any assumed revelations with more confusion. As the credits rolled I began to worry that it was perhaps me being dense, but I got to chat to another screening attendee who shared my discombobulation and was also reaching for the synopsis on the way out.
All in all I enjoyed the film, but I can’t say that I fully understood it or would rush to watch it again apart from in the hope of discovering that elusive ‘something’ I’d missed.