American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
That glistening orange dessert under the opening credits looks like the peachiest peach cobbler in the world, especially when it's overlaid with vibrant boysenberry-creme lettering. It makes your eyes and your mouth water.
Wong Kar-Wai's "My Blueberry Nights" isn't the first movie to use food, or even dessert, as a romantic metaphor, but this one is unquestionably the creation of a filmmaker with the sensibility of a woozy, love-stricken pastry chef. It's a store-bought bakery-window display cake, infused with flavor essences and color-enhancers. (Is there a cinematic MSG that intensifies the sweetness of eye candy?) Blueberry Nights. Pomegranate Afternoons. Watermelon Dusks. Tangerine-and-Lavender Mornings with a Lemon Splash. Yum.
You taste "My Blueberry Nights" with your retinas. Lick up that luminous string of tart lime windows in the elevated train sliding through midnight-indigo New York. Savor the cranberry mist suffusing the atmosphere in the Memphis bar where they play Otis Redding. There are less appetizing things to look at for 90 minutes than this pretty pie-cart of a movie. Instead of chocolate-dipped strawberries, dollops of whipped cream or frosting rosebuds, its glazed slices are garnished with the faces of Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz and David Strathairn.
How much further can this dessert metaphor be pushed? All the way to the end of the movie, it turns out. That's what you pay for, and that's what you get from Wong: luscious, colorful treats that are gorgeous to behold and easy to swallow. "My Blueberry Nights," his English-language debut, is his fluffiest confection. Even the shattered window glass from a romantic-tragedy car wreck sparkles in the street lamps like rock candy crystals.