A personal assistant pines for the professional killer whose room she cleans while he's away—when she isn't getting herself off there. The killer, who expresses his ambivalence about his work and his assistant in voice-over, seems depressed yet uncynical. When a hyperactive woman approaches him at McDonald's, they hurtle into a compulsive, melodramatic relationship. Meanwhile a silent, roving shop clerk bullies people into accepting goods and services, until he becomes smitten with a woman who's as belligerent as he is. Writer-director Wong Kar-wai makes these five self-consciously idiosyncratic types—often seen through distorting lenses in cinematographer Christopher Doyle's somber, garish Hong Kong—fully and instantly believable. Their encounters seem accidental but have a poetic logic that reverberates in some lovely jukebox pop. I could have watched this 1995 movie's surreal, energizing plots and subplots unfurl and fold into one another indefinitely. In Cantonese with subtitles.
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