Crazy Rich Asians (2018): ‘The Excess of Style’ – A Film Review

 

Introduction

Based upon the book by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians is one of the few Hollywood movies to feature a large all Asian cast. The book dates back to 2013 and centres on an Asian family and a romance around a wedding. This Rom Com therefore, looks to argue back against Hollywood white washing for a more equal cast but somehow also managed to be controversial for the not purely Chinese cast at the same time.As such Crazy Rich Asians is an interesting take on the Rom Com if only for this quality and controversy. However, the Director given to Crazy Rich Asians is Jon M. Chu, responsible for films like Jem and the Holograms, Now You See Me 2 and the Step Up sequels and some documentaries. Despite his success there’s  not much to install some confidence in the film.

 

Excess

Whilst the budget for the film was $30,000,000, the focus on rich lifestyles seems to be centred on a lavish lifestyle, which was enough to make this fact surprising. Visually there is a lot going on, the big sets, large cast and intricate show stealers makes everything seem so full of excess. It’s nice to look at but feels unrealistically dream-like at times. If the characters can afford all this, it still feels like they’re throwing away millions – in spite of a wedding. It just doesn’t feel likely and the various sequences that emphasise this lavish lifestyle gets over the top and becomes boring. Furthermore, these montage sequences have a tendency to employ styles of editing that feel out of place and disorientating, hindering rather than helping the sequences – though it was likely trying to heighten the look.

 

The Rom Com

This all forms the backdrop of a story that could have been better told, and which is nothing new. In a very traditional setting for a Rom Com, SPOILERS: Either Romeo & Juliet or Titanic END OF SPOILERS, we get our story, which, as said, isn’t new but is at least given heart. The performances by the cast are enough to draw you in, despite the rest of the film, eventually; and they even bring some laughs to the affairs. Somewhere in the middle, and lost amongst the style that betrays the story, there is a substance that is calling out. Thematically we’re taking a look at family, class and rich ‘honour’. Something that feels as if it has come from the book over anything that the film is actually trying to do.

 

Conclusion

Overall the cast pulls it through. They take the film back from the style, which bores through most of the beginning and a theme emerges for some moments, that may amount to fifteen minutes at the most. The book was likely something that has gained the film this particular attention, perhaps built up by the anticipation of five years but what we’ve got is an uneven but heartfelt film. Without Michelle Yeoh, Constance Wu and Henry Golding, amongst many others, there wouldn’t be a film.

 

Synopsis

Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is attending a wedding with her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding), where she learns that Nick comes from an incredibly rich heritage. Meeting the family and feeling the obvious class difference tests their relationship and especially Rachel’s character.

 

 

Ratings

Entertainment:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.

 

Films Mentioned

Crazy Rich Asians (d. Jon M. Chu USA 2018)

Jem and the Holograms (d. Jon M. Chu USA 2015

Now You See Me 2 (d. Jon M. Chu France/USA 2016)

Titanic (d. James Cameron USA 1997)

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Jon M. Chu and Henry Golding

Interview with the Cast

Interview with Michelle Yeoh

Hopes for the Film

Expenditures

Five Things to Know

More than a Rom Com

Crazy Rich Asians and Rom Coms

 

If you liked this

Lady Bird (2017): ‘One in Many’ – A Film Review

Finding Your Feet (2017): ‘Heart-warmers and Tearjerkers’ – A Film Review

Raazi (2018): ‘The Bollywood Spy’ – A Film Review

 

This was an analytical review of….

 

Crazy Rich Asians (d. Jon M. Chu USA 2018)

 

 

 



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