It’s an exquisitely controlled movie. It’s also a nakedly desperate work, in which anguish and isolation radiate from nearly every frame. I think it’s best to start with this seeming contrast: intense emotion and rigorous calculation are commonly thought of as opposed to each other, and, outside of art, they usually are. . . . It’s probably best to say—to speculate—that Tsai, in his theatrical feature debut, found an aesthetic to go with his feelings, and feelings to go with his aesthetic.
January 10, 2018