Hot Summer Days, directed by Wing Shya and Tony Chan, and written by Chan and Lucretia Ho, is the kind of film where pretty girls work in sweatshops without a hair out of place or makeup smudged, and are courted by the handsome boss while a poor boy pines for them—it’s the kind of film where a young girl dies and the shadow of a butterfly then floats skyward. With its fast pace, quick edits, and glossy-fashion-magazine-meets-music-video aesthetic (visually, the film—shot by Sion Michel—is gorgeous), Days is determinedly state-of-now cinema. But its sprawling cast of slightly exaggerated characters (more “types” than actual characters) and the artificiality of look and tone (sporadically punctured by genuinely touching moments) gives it the feel of an old Hollywood musical. Set in the middle of a record-breaking hot Hong Kong summer in which bidding wars break out for ice cream and air-conditioner servicemen, the film follows more than a dozen different characters as they traverse aching hearts, longing hearts, and interconnected stories. There are tears, laughter, and eye-candy of both the male and female persuasions (including a sexily taciturn Daniel Wu as a sushi chef afraid to love), and while the film is slight, predictable, and familiar, it’s great popcorn fare.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 29, 2010