The story of a hit man who works out of Taipei but lays low in a bachelor pad in Okinawa, Starlit High Noon is a pensive study of infatuation: It’s in Okinawa where Lian Song (Wang Leehom) becomes fixated with Yukiko (Suzuki Kyoka), a slightly older woman who stuffs food into bento boxes at a local factory and who suffers from a broken heart. Director Nakagawa Yosuke’s oblique, flattened compositions of the clouds, buildings, and telephone poles above and around Okinawa evoke visual flourishes familiar to so many Antonioni films, only the shots are less ennui-ridden; his long pauses, naked nostalgia, and breezy romanticism more accurately bring to mind the tone of Takeshi Kitano’s Fireworks, a more vibrant and complex disquisition on physical and spiritual longing through creation (Kitano’s yakuza paints where Lian makes elaborate culinary dishes). Insofar as Nakagawa creates for his characters a world of suspended animation, the film is bound to earn comparisons to Last Life in the Universe, but while the director displays an incredible command of widescreen (for sure, his postcard shots of Okinawa are nothing short of breathtaking), the film’s whimsy is more precious than magical-realist. The world doesn’t seem to exist for either of the films’ characters, but in the case of the self-involved Starlit High Noon, its characters don’t seem to want to let the audience share in their high.
- 92 min
- Nakagawa Yosuke
- Nakagawa Yosuke
- Wang Leehom, Suzuki Kyoka
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