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Red Dust

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 06/04/2002
Summary: Poor

I think this film is definitely not cut out to be what is should have been, as the main problem with the film is that it doesn’t have enough in it to keep the viewer consistently interested through out. Saying that though, there are some very good convincing parts in the films, Chin Han scenes to be specific. Brigitte Lin was okay too, but Maggie Cheung didn’t look right in this film, maybe she wasn’t involved as much in the film as maybe she should have.

I’m not saying it’s bad as such, but I think most people who would watch this would find it boring, and quite honestly as the last reviewer said, dull.


Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 02/09/2002
Summary: Dull

As usual, it's down to me to express the dissonant view. I notice my opinion almost perfectly complements that of grimes.

The kindest description I can think of is "leisurely paced and varied". A harsher paraphrase would be slow and meandering.

This can be forgiven if the story were an involving romance (if this were the aim, it failed) or a sweeping story covering great historical changes by focussing in on a small group of people (at which it occasionally hits the mark)
or, most contentiously, if the actors deliver great performances. I'm not impressed with the acting here. Yes, Brigitte Lin is tackling serious drama, but it's far from the only time she's done so. Her frequent co-star and real-life great love Chin Han is pretty uninspiring. Even the great Maggie Cheung doesn't fare much better.

On the plus side, the music is excellent, especially the theme. This is one of the few Chinese films I've seen where they get close to exactly the right mix. About the only point of agreement is that the look of this film is wonderful.

I can recommend this film only for fans of Brigitte and Chin Han and, perhaps, desperate fans of Maggie. Otherwise, you'd have to be in the right mood - ready for a leisurely and rambling run.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: ksbutterbox
Date: 11/20/2001
Summary: Better after repeated viewings...

This is quite a diamond in the rough. I agree it's flawed in places but to see Brigitte Lin and Maggie Cheung's characters bond like this is so moving.This is why they are truly legends of the HK film industry. Why more people haven't seen this ?..'s not campy kung-fu fare. Very timely movie for all people to watch in 2001..considering the ways of the world right now. Take Heed...

Reviewed by: rolandyu
Date: 04/21/2001
Summary: Good one

I barely remember the story, because I watched this movie a long time ago. It was on Saturday night, without anything to watch, just switching channels and suddenly I found a familiar face of Lin Ching Sia.

I followed the story (luckily it has just started) and saw Maggie Cheung as well. I think they are perfect match. Good castings, good story and good flow.


Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/08/2000

It was a shock to see Brigitte Lin in a film and not see her in drag once throughout the entire film. After watching Red Dust,
I wished that she had appeared this way more often. While I love watching her in her numerous
cross-dressing/kung-fu/badass roles, it's apparent from this film that there is much more to her acting talents than just
that. After seeing this, I sincerely wish that she had done fewer campy kungfu films. Not that I dislike campy kungfu films,
mind you, but it would have freed her to do more serious work like Red Dust.

Red Dust follows the life of a fiction writer played by Brigitte Lin, starting in 1935 during the Japanese occupation and
continuing through to 1949 during the civil war in China. The basic story is a love story, though, and these events are a
backdrop. They are also used to provide dramatic tension. This was a difficult time for China and its citizens, and the main
characters are no exception.

The love interest is played by Chin Han, who provides occasional narration throughout the film. He is a Chinese aide of
some sort to the Japanese (a collaborator). This creates some very obvious problems, particularly with Briggite Lin's more
politcally-minded friend, played by Maggie Cheung.

The best moments of the film come when Maggie and Brigitte are on screen together. They are both wonderful actresses and
it was great to see them working together, especially in a dramatic film (as opposed to the fairly poor Boys are Easy or the
great, but light, Dragon Inn). There is not enough screen time for Maggie, but in my opinion there is no possible way she
could ever have enough screen time so I'll just have to be satisfied.

Chin Han is also good as Brigitte's lover, though maybe not quite as good as the female leads (I'm biased, of course). The
actors in the supporting roles were good, but had relatively little screen time.

The story was very well-written, drawing you in and really making you care about the main characters. One interesting
touch is that occasionally there are scenes in the movie drawn from a novel that Brigitte is writing. This novel parallels
events in her real life. These scenes are just inserted into the movie and work rather well, especially when the lines between
the two are blurred. Unfortunately, these scenes are clustered at the beginning and end of the film, making them feel
unbalanced. Just one more somewhere in the middle would have rounded them out and made them work even better.
Nonetheless, it worked well when it was used.

Inevitably, a film like this will contain some melodrama. I'd prefer that there be as little as possible and I wasn't too put off
by it in Red Dust. It was more than made up for by great acting and an involving story. The music was very noticeable, which
was good when the music was good and frustrating when it was bad. I generally think that the music in the film should be
more subtle, and I'm not quite sure why the music was so in-your-face in Red Dust. This seems to be a fairly common
problem with Hong Kong films (one thing that Hollywood seems to have mastered is the art of the soundtrack. Rarely do I
hear a blatantly bad soundtrack in a Hollywood film anymore).

Visually, the film was well done, though without much fanfare. There were a few exceptions to this, especially a scene where
a mob attempts to board the last ship out of China. I loved the way the camera work showed the chaos of the mob,
heightening the tension. I also enjoyed the film's starkly beautiful ending shot.

See this film to see a different side of Brigitte Lin than we've come to expect. There is no cross-dressing and no icy stare of
death. There is just fine acting.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Good romantic story; bit of a tearjerker. Not an action film.20th century melodrama set starting in 1938 against a backdrop of war and revolution. "Award winning".

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

It's about the emotional entanglements of an eccentric novelist (Brigitte Lin), her best friend (Maggie Cheung), and Lin's lover Chin Han through WW2, a nationalist takeover, and a cultural revolution. The sunset and candle-lit photography (lovely even when there's no sun or candles), combined with the ethereal plot, makes it look as if they were trying too hard to make an art film out of a tragic romance. Still, when the female co-stars share the screen, the effect is intoxicating.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 6