Written and directed by Chi-Chiu Lee and based on his novel (no matter how this one turns out, Chi-Chiu has only himself to blame), Night Corridor poses the age old question of what happens when your twin brother is murdered by monkeys after having assumed the identity of the surviving twin who was off in London working on his career as a photographer.
Even though we start out promisingly enough with this monkey murder story line, things quickly degenerate from there as Chi-Chiu wantonly tosses in a variety of hot button issues that probably were connected in his mind when he came up with this morass of meandering madness, but loses quite a bit in its translation to the big screen.
Thus, we are subjected to a pedophile priest, a homosexual affair, a heterosexual affair, a pact with the devil, and a mother with a strange obsession with the dead twin. (I’m still trying to figure out how many different ways it was wrong for her to want the surviving twin to put on the dead twin’s zookeeper uniform so that she could pretend that her living twin son was really her dead twin son.)
Sam receives a phone call that his brother in Hong Kong has been in an accident and is in a coma. When Sam finally arrives, he finds out that his brother is dead.
Sam’s mom is a drunken ex-nightclub singer who acts bizarrely and complains that Sam’s dad was just a driver and ruined her life. Sam’s dad is dead and Sam blames his mom for his supposed suicide.
There is also a priest that Sam runs into and Sam has issues with him as well, especially since he overhears his mom and the priest talking about keeping something a secret from him.
Sam also encounters a librarian named Mr. Luk and it later turns out that he’s either the Devil or a disciple or just some crazy old man who wants his daughter to get impregnated by Sam.
That seems sort of off the wall, especially since Sam is running around town trying to talk to his old school friend who is now a big time radio star. Sam wants to have sex with the radio star which you would think might put a crimp in Luk’s plan to have his daughter seduce him, but what really ought to cramp Luk’s style is the fact that Sam’s radio star crush is another guy!
Sam isn’t just a one-trick pony though because he’s still got a lot of loving in him that needs expressing, so he ends up screwing Luk’s daughter anyway.
So what does Sam’s liberal views on human sexuality and oddball family and friends have to do with the rest of the movie? Beats me, but Sam was apparently molested by this priest when he was at school and was rescued by the radio star. The radio star then goes on the radio and “outs” the priest for doing that. The priest predictably responds by engaging in antics that only further confuses the audience.
Sam ends up wondering just what in the world he got himself into with this girl because when he shows up at the library toward the end of the film after consummating their affair, Luk informs him that she’s not there, but is a painting.
They also argue about the baby that she’s pregnant with (also inside the painting?) and Sam says he wants the girl back and somehow it all ends with Luk opening a door and asking us if we’re having a nightmare. Uh, yeah. I’d say so.
I’m more than willing to cut a movie some slack and not hold it to any strict interpretation of reality. I understand that artists have to be free to experiment and try different techniques at getting their ideas out there.
I can almost even understand talking about a monkey attack, but never actually showing it (though that clearly is pushing it), but I’m still not even sure what was supposed to be happening in Night Corridor, let alone what did happen.
I never understood what the story with the priest, the radio star, and Sam had to do with the story of Sam, Luk, the daughter, and his brother. Heck I didn’t even understand each of those stories separately!
Ideas were thrown out and died on the vine, withering away from neglect or just from failing to connect them to the other concepts that periodically popped up like noxious film school mushrooms.
There comes a point in time where you can be so fuzzy with your storytelling that you cease to be communicating at all with the viewer and Night Corridor hit that moment far too many times to be remotely successful.
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