Long Day’s Journey Into Night — Film Review

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Directed by Gan Bi



He was looking for somebody.  I’m not sure who, or why.  It might have been explained briefly at the beginning, but I didn’t catch it.  He had a friend who was a gambler who was killed long ago.  This had something to do with it.  He wasn’t a cop or a private investigator.  He was just a guy who had some vague personal motivation.  He had an affair with a beautiful married woman that didn’t go anywhere and was just dropped from the story.   He traveled to a number of remote, down and out places and met a variety of people whose connection to his quest wasn’t at all clear.  It had something to do with a restaurant that his mother had owned.  He wasn’t a very forthcoming guy.  Everybody in the movie smoked.  Toward the end he meets this stunning young woman in a striking red jacket who runs a pool parlor.  The movie ends with them in a lingering, tentative kiss.  Not a very good kiss, in my opinion.  Neither one of them seemed to have their heart in it.

The friend I went with was as clueless as I was what this movie was about.  I don’t think the guy found the person he was looking for.  My friend disagreed.  He thought that he had found the person, a crazy woman with a torch, but it wasn’t who he thought it was, or was somehow disappointing to him.  I didn’t get this, and there didn’t seem to be any connection to the beautiful girl he ends up kissing for the grand culmination of the movie.  The whole thing was just an aimless, amorphous nothing.  Characters weren’t developed.  People just dropped out and disappeared.  There was no narrative that you could follow.  The lead character wasn’t a strong enough presence on screen to carry the movie and keep you interested.  The two women were gorgeous and captivating, but the film didn’t make good use of them.  They didn’t play enough of a role in the story.  They were sort of ancillary.  The self absorbed guy didn’t seem to engage with them.  The film had a dreamlike quality to it.  There were sequences of scenarios and people who were not necessarily connected to one another with no unifying theme or purpose.  The film is long and quite slow moving.

They cribbed the title from a classic stage play by Eugene O’Neill.  But the film didn’t refer in any way to O’Neill’s play.  There were no parallels of any kind that I could see.  I guess they just didn’t have enough imagination to come up with their own title.  Or maybe they thought it would sell better if they used the title of a classic play.  They might have been right about that, because I think the title is what is selling this film.  The title and the two women are the only things it’s got going for it.  It is in Chinese with subtitles.  I’m sorry, but this was rather boring.