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Michael Winterbottom, Samantha Morton und Tim Robbins – a surprisingly big-named cast for a Winterbottom film. A star like Tim Robbins as the gravitational centre, who – also through his physical presence, that man is just so tall – determines the film’s mood just by slumping his shoulders or by walking erect (funny for me that I saw him in two films in a row, once here and the other time in "Team America – World Police", where he gets deservedly slaughtered after annoying everybody to death about buying hybrid cars and saving the climate for our children). And actually this is what the film is about: people’s moods and the world’s mood. This world is a very technocractic place, lacking emotions in a way similar to what was depicted in "Gattaca". It’s aseptic in a bit of a cliché-science fiction manner, but with the interesting twist that most of the settings are real-life today’s Shanghai settings, so not really much SciFi at all. (The completely coincidental sidenote is that I started watching the film while sitting in a Shanghai hotel, without knowing in advance where the film is set – that was odd, because the locations there are just very SciFi, without much need for beefing them up for futuristic style). The "crime" story that pushes ahead story development (first about faked papers, and then about illegal mating) is more the excuse to push the personnel around their world a bit and allow them to be depressed. It is a very watchable way of developing the story, however, just a bit boring, with style dominating content just a bit too much. That there is not much hope in such a world comes at no surprise, but it’s interesting to think about the final resolution: (now spoiling) if memories can be manipulated in a way that the cheating husbands do not remember their adventures anymore, that would be actually brilliant, wouldn’t it? The whole concept of crime and punishment would be turned upside down, as memory removal would make anybody innocent, whatever atrocity he/she committed. Whether the wife will be able to life with her husband happily everafter is another question, but if she thinks it through, there is no reason not to. In any case: another interesting film by probably the strangest and one of the most interesting directors / auteurs around.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040813/REVIEWS/408130301/1023
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0345061/

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