Well picking a film to watch and review on a weekday is not easy. Due to the lack of new releases, you generally have to spend time going through your watchlist and meticulously deciding and picking on the film to watch and review. Usually, I do have a few films on my fingertips to watch and review. But yesterday was a slog because I realised that my watchlist has been getting thinner by the minute. And after much time deliberating, I decided to pick the English film titled After Yang. Not many people have watched or even heard of it and I thought lets give this one a go and if it is good it will create a bit of an awareness. So then is After Yang worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Based on a novel Saying Goodbye To Yang by Alexander Weinstein, After Yang follows the story of a family as they reflect on questions of love and connection after their AI breaks down. The story is a high concept one filled with so many emotions. If you have watched the movie Her, you would know the kind of complex emotions which were tapped there. The emotions of loss and grief coupled with philosophy related to today’s world(or even futuristic) make After Yang a special film right at the concept level. The screenplay standing at just above 90 minutes is taut yet it does not compromise on the fluidity of the drama. Based on whether AI is receptive to emotions and love, the screenplay opens with a family dance competition. Soon it shifts gears and focuses on the tragedy of their AI breaking down. From here on begins an emotional roller coaster which is a niche yet if you are willing to reciprocate the sheer wavelength at which the emotions are displayed then you will absolutely love it.
The subtleness in the drama is evident which gives it a lot of texture. The proceedings are soft and gentle and handled in the most delicate manner. In fact, the drama is so poignant that it almost gets philosophical and meditative with an underlying current of remorse of helplessness. Some may find hard to even connect to the drama, finding it uneventful. But it is about latching on to the smaller complex emotions to truly get a taste of the drama. The end is also very melancholic with the art of letting go of things in hope to cross paths again. And the only thing remaining would be some precious memories. Indeed a beautiful thought with the right use of technology in the narrative which is quite believable. Also, the dash of cultural references provided just add wonderfully to the overall texture of the drama. Beautiful, simply beautiful!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational yet they hold a lot of weight with the way they are presented. The music is pretty good and the BGM blends beautifully with the drama. Director Kogonada does a brilliant job in handling this delicate subject with utmost care thereby making it extremely believable. Some of the most beautiful lines are presented in the most poignant manner and the director deserves a lot of credit for it.
The performances are pretty good. Malea Emma as Mika is first rate and her pain is showcased so well. Haley Lu Richardson as Ada has her moments to shine. Jodie Turner-Smith as Kyra is wonderfully restrained and she does a swell job. Justin H Min as Yang is profound and measured in his performance yet there is a tingling feeling of someone strumming the strings of your heart everytime he is onscreen. Absolutely beautiful to watch him. I must admit I have never really liked Colin Farrell as an actor. But as Jake, this is probably the best he has ever been! Absolutely magnificent and probably the best performance which you may have witnessed of his.
After Yang is a beautiful yet poignant tale of an AI which comes with my highest recommendation.