Sunday, March 30, 2008

Better Luck Tomorrow

Whoa. Great film. Before I say anything about the film's intentions, I think the cinematography was fantastic. All the time sequences, the returning shots to Ben playing basketball and the SAT word of the day really emphasized the film's theme of circularity. I think John Cho's character sums it up when he's talking to Ben while he's hitting baseballs, about how he feels like he's in a never-ending cycle that he's dying to break. I'm still unsure as to what exactly that means. There is definitely a message in the film about the negative effects of positive stereotypes. The stereotype of the over-achieving, smart Asian makes them invisible. The film's focus on these guys shows us a rather extreme view of what this kind of invisibility can do to someone. Only when they start committing crimes do people begin to notice them. Perhaps the film's take on this invisibility is that it supposedly makes people feel like nothing is changing. Even at the end of the film, this "cycle" never breaks.

I think a discussion of the significance of each character might be interesting. All of them were really deep and had profoundly different attitudes towards the events that transpired. Virgil, for example, seems to really have been disturbed by his continual invisibility and the expectations of others. He obviously loves the power that his gun gives him. The hero, Ben, seems to have the purest heart of the group but is unable to find a sufficient enough drive to change himself.

I'm also wondering about the significance of the title, "Better Luck Tomorrow". The characters do seem to have a tendency to just hope that things will turn out ok, instead of working towards a positive change. Perhaps that could be another topic of discussion.

It's hard to say if the film is attacking any particular group. But I think the film does a great job of addressing how these so-called "positive" stereotypes of Asian Americans can hurt someone by not allowing them to be anything else. I will admit that perhaps the film was little extreme, but I think the underlying themes are clear.

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