Time and Tide (2000) movie poster

(2000) dir. Tsui Hark
viewed: 10/03/02

This film was strongly recommended to me by several people, one even remarked: “Best everything ever.”

I am a big Tsui Hark fan. I have been since the early 90′s, and I have often cited his Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983) as one of the films that convinced me to study cinema.

But I have to say that when I saw this trailer in the cinema about a year or so ago, I wasn’t sure if it looked all that good. Cynically, I thought that it looked like Tsui Hark’s interpretation of Wong Kar-Wai’s visual style and storytelling. And as to the result, it wasn’t clear from the trailer what that would be.

After having seen it, though, I am hard pressed to know what to say. I don’t know much about the film’s background. I listened to some of the audio commentary by Tsui Hark on the DVD, but didn’t get enough information to know much about it. I would still say that the film is perhaps influenced by the work of Wong Kar-Wai, maybe in its narrative style and subject matter. The film, however, has so much going on in it that it is hardly a stylistic knock-off, or for that matter even really all that similar in the end. It has a truly unique character.

Whatever the impetus for having made this movie, it seems clear that Tsui Hark has rediscovered cinema. After a two movie tour in Hollywood helming Jean Claude Van Damme films (Double Team (1997) & Knock Off (1998), respectively), Time and Tide is amazingly more complex and ambitious than anything that he had done in almost a decade.

The film is all over the place, employing all kinds of visual effects and narrative devices to tell its story in a complex, sprawling manner.

As a result, unfortunately, I don’t know where to start with it. It really requires another viewing at least to get a proper foothold on it. I will hold back for now.