The sharp class structures depicted in the film are easily recognisable: a woman from a poorer background coming up against the prejudiced forces of wealth for the sake of love (Rachel is harshly nicknamed 'Cinderella' throughout the film) – the only difference is the place and the people, and both are draped in a fantastical opulence. Director Jon M Chu and cinematographer Vanja Cernjul ensures every shot is dripping with explosive colours and cut with a party-like energy (Chu’s previous credits include two Step-Up movies) – reality pushed away and ignored like a 30s musical in Technicolor.
It’s refreshing to watch a silly movie with an easy premise that avoids tired clichés. There’s no 'love will conquer all' or its various derivatives in the dialogue (written by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lin), and, despite the wealthy flamboyance of various characters, they are believable enough to follow. There are plenty of personalities to laugh at, especially when rapper Awkwafina turns up (playing one of Rachel’s friends from school) giving the most electric performance, like a youthful Joan Rivers, wielding a plethora of hilarious one-liners ('you kind of look like a slutty Ebola virus').
The more emotional moments are glanced over for a quick return to the fantasy, but when sadness does poke its head through, it’s genuinely moving. The relationship between Nick’s cousin Astrid (Humans star Gemma Chan) and her husband Michael (Pierre Png) is a territory arguably more interesting than Rachel and Nick. Chan is the most vivid talent in the whole film, delivering such intense drama in a sinfully brief space of time.
Crazy Rich Asians is nice, fun, romantic nonsense that deserves to be placed alongside other brilliantly ridiculous movies about modern fairytale love (Love, Actually comes to mind). There are perhaps a few too many characters to juggle, but each has their own striking personality that’s instantly recognisable. It’s an exceedingly enjoyable fantasy.
|Crazy Rich Asians film review
14 Sep 18 – 14 Sep 19, 12:00 AM
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