Films often disappoint us. Sometimes they fall short of our high expectations, sometimes we are prepared for poor quality but they turn out to be really terrible. But it is rare for a film to be so utterly beyond commendation – to be such an unmitigated assault on decency, sense, and aesthetic value – that it actually offends and angers us. I Come With The Rain is just such a film. Tran Anh Hung has attempted to create a psychological noir thriller that incorporates gangster elements and metaphysical, religious symbolism. He has done all of these things, but in a blinded and inconsistent way that betrays a void of artistic competence and complete disregard for the complexities of cinematic storytelling.
Troubled ex-cop Kline (Hartnett) has been employed as a private detective by a faceless billionaire whose son, Shitao (Kimura), has disappeared after moving to the Far East to help an orphanage. Kline chases a tip off to Hong Kong and meets up with an old buddy, detective Meng Zi (Yue). Unbeknownst to them, Shitao is living in a makeshift roadside bivouac, and he has discovered that he can miraculously cure people by hugging them until cuts appear all over his body. Meanwhile, crime boss Su Dongpo (Lee) is forced to watch as his own brother kidnaps his girlfriend and makes off with a large sum of money. The brother is shot, but he manages to escape and makes it to his destination just before he bleeds out… he was trying to reach Shitao.
Shitao escapes with Dongpo’s girlfriend and keeps her tied up while she recovers from drug addiction. Meanwhile Kline attempts to find Shitao by staring at pictures of his mutilated body (pictures obtained from an earlier routine police investigation). The pictures spark difficult memories for Kline, and we discover that he was let go from the police force after suffering a nervous breakdown and identifying too closely with a crazed psychopathic killer that he was hunting. Shitao allows Dongpo’s girlfriend to go back to the city, but when she decides to return to her new love she inadvertently leads Dongpo to him. Dongpo shoots Shitao repeatedly and nails him to a board of wood (if you have missed the whole ‘Christian symbolism’ thing don’t worry… it is MUCH more obvious in the film). Kline inexplicably figures out that Dongpo must know where Shitao is (despite having done nothing other than suffer a few flashbacks), and Dongpo even more inexplicably agrees to tell him! The film ends (which I honestly thought might never happen) with Kline taking Christ… sorry… Shitao down from the cross and heading home.
As far as the noir crime thriller is concerned, the bare semblance of a narrative that Tran Anh Hung does provide (and there isn’t much there, I assure you) is illogical, unoriginal, and utterly dull. As far as the religious symbolism is concerned… there is absolutely no justification for turning Shitao into some sort of Christ-figure, and it in no way fits with the tonal and thematic qualities of the story. The only remotely commendable element of the story is Kline’s psychological meltdown as the memories of his past seep back into his conscious.
To make matters worse, the director relies entirely on the wonderful music of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Radiohead to string sequences together and provide the film with some sort of emotional and tonal backbone. Both of these bands are notoriously shy and rarely allow their music to be used for films, so to see their entire discographies being butchered and abused in such a lazy way adds to the quite physical, nauseous pain of watching this film.
This could have been a taut noir crime thriller, combining the fast pace of modern Asian crime cinema with an Insomnia story of a troubled cop who must overcome his own issues to find his quarry. Instead it is a meandering and meaningless pile of drivel that does a disservice to its many fine performances.