Shadow is a film that fulfills generic expectations while simultaneously, inexplicably, seemingly defies them to create something wholly unique, or at the very least revolutionary in its ability to revise a genre. We saw this before with the widespread success of Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; a subtitled film which saw unprecedented success with Western audiences. Fittingly, Crouching Tiger was surpassed by Zhang Yimou’s Hero as the most profitable foreign film to be released in
(much of this success owed
to Lee’s film paving the way, as well as Quentin Tarantino’s name attached as a
seal of quality). Yimou’s career has rarely since met the same cultural
response, though he has had varied success with the critics. Shadow seems to
mark a return for both. America
Following a tradition of blending the romantic genre narrative with icons and story devices from the science-fiction and fantasy genres (a trend that seems particularly prominent within Asian cinema in recent years), How Long Will I Love U is a refreshingly original idea, even if there remains a great deal of predictability/familiarity in its execution. In many ways, this has been the complaint about Danny Boyle’s Yesterday by critics, but the audience for romantic comedies is rarely one clamoring for creativity over the base enjoyments of the genre, and How Long Will I Love U makes certain not to sacrifice these expected elements, even if they counter the unpredictability of the science-fiction elements in the narrative.