Talkier (though hardly verbose) and more conventionally dramatic than the films for which Hou would soon became famous, but pretty much perfect on its own terms as a film about the twilight of early adulthood, the sweetness and violent stupidity of boys being boys becoming men, and also, via unmistakable subtext, the excitement and depredations of a metastasizing marketplace.
Unlike much of Hou's later work this is a film that is rugged and rough around the edges, and in its own way is all the better for it. A film of incredible sadness and emotional pain, a hymn to growing up and youthful desire and ambition. Funny that they should be watching Rocco and His Brothers in the cinema, a film that in ways is so so similar. 5/5
So glad ive finally got around to seeing this. I feel after seeing it I've understood HHH a lot more and I'm going to appreciate his later work even more. I found it strangely nostalgic yet foreign at the same time. Like a hazy mist of familiarities that in pieces feel like memories but as a whole feel like something I've never known. The comment below puts it very nicely and I'm glad Im not the only one.