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It wasn't actually scary. I found it more sad than scary, and at times more plodding than suspenseful. As a mystery/suspense it isn't that effective: some scenes are slow, the film loses focus on the primary mystery, and I've seen better suspense from M Night Shyamalan in his worst films, such as Lady in the Water. The editing, too, leaves much to be desired. I could spot discontinuity in shots, such as a head turned backwards in one shot that quickly faces forward in the next. Of course a movie isn't done in one take, but you'd expect the editing, the piecing together of all the takes into one continuous flow, to be much better than that.
But this movie works on two counts: It's visually stunning, and - if you ignore the fact that it's supposed to be a thriller - it's psychologically disturbing and sad. I wasn't as fond of the flashback/hallucination scenes that are clearly supposed to be breath-taking in a trance-like ethereal manner as I was supposed to be; some of the scenes feel overwrought and over-the-top. But the film has a subtle vintage look to it, with a distinct film-noir feel.
And of course, there's Leonardo DiCaprio. He's been an excellent actor since he started acting, and I know this because I've watched almost all his movies. His character's story is sad in and of itself, but with Leo in charge, it reaches a whole new level of disturbance, mania, and pathos.
It's a pretty good film. Not perfect, not even excellent by any means, but immensely watchable if you forgive the rather unsuspenseful nature of a movie that's supposed to be suspense. I also really liked the ambiguous ending.
Worth the wait!
I'm gonna eat cup noodles now. Yay. I was at NTUC with Wei Chuen on Friday night and he helped me buy tao kae noi and cup noodles. Yay!