Reviewed by: ryan
Summary: Time to Remember, A (1999)
Leslie CHEUNG has been more active in the film industry than he has been in recent years. So far this year he has done three movies -- the romantic comedy 'Moonlight Express,' the drama 'The Kid,' and now 'A Time to Remember.' 'A Time to Remember' is a historical drama directed by YIP Ying. The mixed cast is from Hong Kong, China, and the States with Leslie CHEUNG Kwok-wing, MUI Ting, and Todd Babcock in the lead roles.
The story of 'A Time to Remember' begins with the voice of an old man, Robert Payne, and brings the audience to Shanghai of the 1930s. During that time, foreigners had many privileges and were in the upper class of the society. Payne (Todd Babcock), a doctor, is visited at his apartment one night by QiuQiu (MUI Ting), a girl who asks him to make an urgent house call since her husband, Jin (Leslie CHEUNG Kwok-wing), is seriously ill. Jin is suffering from the effects of a war injury, some bomb fragments lodged inside his head, and from time to time he believes he is living in the past. In fact, Jin and Qiuqiu are communists, and they are hiding OR living under false identities in Shanghai so that Jin can be treated for his illness. Qiuqiu's father, Ho-ming, is a former communist, but now a politician in Shanghai, he tries to catch Jin. To further complicate matters, as time goes on, Robert finds that he is falling in love with QiuQiu . . .
'A Time to Remember' is an adaptation from Robert Payne's published account about his days in Shanghai during the 1930s and 1940s. This adaptation tries to describe both the Jin's past and the later relationships between Jin, QiuQiu, and Payne. For those who are thinking about seeing 'A Time to Remember,' you must be aware that it is a historical drama. The focus of the movie is the relationship between the three leads. The film lingers on details, and the pace is somewhat slow. The use of flashbacks tries to fully present the entire matter. Personally I would have liked to have seen more of Jin's past and his days with his ex-wife. With a better developed back-story, the resolution of the ensuing events would have felt more fulfilling.
Leslie CHEUNG Kwok-wing has done a good job. Though his character is one person, he is basically portraying two men. At times, he is an energetic communist leader; during others he is a desperate and ill OR an ill man looking for his ex-wife. He is believable as both. As Qiuqiu, the girl who followed Jin but falls in love with Robert Payne, MUI Ting is very natural while Todd Babcock, an American playing the role of the doctor, is serviceable as Payne.
One thing that you may notice is that though the film is a PRC production, the movie is in English most of the time. Though some actors speak English with an accent, they are using their own voices which is a relief to those of us who are tired of dubbing.
On the technical side, the film is quite successful. The cinematography in 'A Time to Remember' is wonderful. The use of colors in the movie is very cool. Most of the time scenes are dark, but there are various ways that colors are used to accent different issues. For example, when there is a scene about the relationship between Jin and QiuQiu, the filmmakers use a bit of red and yellow to show warmth. For the sub-plot about the suppression of the communists, the entire scene remains dark. The natural use of these selections helps in sustaining the film's mood. Finally, the setting of scenes throughout the movie is also fantastic, and the production design is terrific. If you do not like the pace of the movie, at least you can enjoy the visuals.