THE VERTICAL RAY OF THE SUN Add To My Top 10

Rotten Fruit in Paradise

Content -4
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: July 06, 2001

Starring: Tran Nu Yen-Khe, Nguyen Nhu Quynh, Le Khanh, Ngo Quanq Hai, Tran Manh Cuong, Chu Ngoc Hung, Le Tuan Anh, & Le Van Loc

Genre: Drama

Audience: Adults

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 112 Minutes

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Content:

(FRFRFR, L, SSS, N, A, D, M) Strong Buddhist worldview & strong immorality; 1 profanity; no violence; lots of sexual activity, but always clothed to some degree, adultery & strong incest theme; man swimming in underwear & woman in bra; alcohol; constant smoking; and, lying & polygamy.

Summary:

THE VERTICAL RAY OF THE SUN is about three sisters in Hanoi, Vietnam, two of whom are involved in illicit affairs, including incest. Beautifully photographed, the revelations of infidelity and incest are treated lightly, as if everyone does it, and the movie has a strong Buddhist worldview.

Review:

THE VERTICAL RAY OF THE SUN opens like a lyrical Vietnamese version of Chekov's THREE SISTERS and slowly descends into an adulterous, polygamous, incestuous mess. The first hour is an exquisitely enchanting story that completely envelops the audience in its subtle mystique as director Tran Anh Hung ("The Scent of Green Papaya") makes Hanoi, Vietnam, look like paradise. However, as the plot unravels anyone with a moral perspective will realize that there is a lot of rotten fruit in paradise.

THE VERTICAL RAY OF THE SUN opens as three sisters throw a banquet on the anniversary of their mother's death. It ends one month later on their father's remembrance day.

The oldest sister, Suong (Nguyen Nhu Quynh), runs a small restaurant where the youngest, Lien (Tran Nu Yen-Khe, Hung's wife and star of his previous films), helps out. Suong's husband, Quoc (Chu Ngoc Hung), is a photographer. Middle sister Khanh's (Le Khanh) spouse, Kien (Tran Manh Cuong), is trying to finish his first novel. The sisters' brother, Hai (Ngo Quanq Hai), is an actor. The entire family lives quite well even though they don't seem to be working very hard to support themselves.

Lien and Hai share an apartment. Lien has a crush on her older brother, even going so far as to crawl into his bed each night. Hai is annoyed by Lien's affections, but eventually it is clear that she gets the best of her brother and even believes that she is pregnant by him.

Meanwhile, the other siblings have their own peccadilloes. Quoc has another family; Suong has an illicit adulterous love; and, Khanh suspects her husband of cheating.

These revelations of infidelity and incest are treated lightly, as if everyone does it, so why not? There is no moral edge, except for brief moments of sadness by a betrayed spouse, who is involved in her own affair and who quickly recovers.

Director Tran Anh Hung handles these relationships with a subtlety and humor, but the scenes are often too composed and too languid. The director's penchant for static pictures and his insistence on making Hanoi into Eden, where only passions intrude, diminishes his story and characters.

Furthermore, viewers might have trouble following the plot. The three sisters are played by actresses who look remarkably similar, and it's not always easy to tell which woman is doing what to whom. Most moviegoers will lose patience the complexity and slowness of the plot.

Ultimately, THE VERTICAL RAY OF THE SUN rots before the audience’s eyes, and it is not a pretty picture of paradise.

In Brief:

THE VERTICAL RAY OF THE SUN opens as three sisters in Hanoi, Vietnam throw a banquet on the anniversary of their mother's death. One sister has a crush on her older brother, who apparently succumbs to her nocturnal advances. The husband of the second sister has another family, but that sister is also involved in her own illicit affair. Meanwhile, the third sister suspects her husband of cheating.

These revelations of infidelity and incest are treated lightly, as if everyone does it, so why not? There is no moral edge, except for brief moments of sadness by a betrayed sister, who is involved in her own affair and who quickly recovers. The director handles these relationships with subtlety and humor, but the scenes are often too composed and too languid. Tran Anh Hung's insistence on turning Hanoi into an Eden, where only passions intrude, diminishes his story. Furthermore, the three sisters are played by actresses who look remarkably similar, and it's not always easy to tell which woman is doing what to whom. Ultimately, THE VERTICAL RAY OF THE SUN rots before the audience’s eyes, and it is not a pretty picture of paradise.