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 squeamish 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.