Now where on earth did this movie come from? Why was there no warning? Shouldn't we have seen it coming somehow? Like Pistol Opera, TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER paints itself across the screen in bold bright colours as if to say to the rest of the movie making world "Are you so fresh out of ideas already?". Unlike PO though, TOTBT is not just utterly removed from filmic convention - it's just in utterly the wrong time and place.
The movie is basically a 1950's Western/Melodrama... made in 21st Century Thailand (and with tongue firmly in cheek). The clothes, the hairstyles, the sets, the camerawork, the soundtrack, the acting, the script... all spot on for 50's America. The movie has even been bizarrely colourised in a way reminiscent of very early colour film stock, but obviously done digitally and deliberately, with an eye to the exact shifting of colours that best suits each shot. Hues are shifted to colours the world is not meant to be, and saturation is selectively ramped up to 1000 to create lurid pinks and shocking yellows and an absolutely unique look to the film. It looks weird, but fantastic.
TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER has two major advantages over PISTOL OPERA. Firstly, they remembered to include a story. And it's a really good one... a melodrama in the finest tradition, featuring love and loss and friendship and rivalry and hatred and sorrow and jealousy and heroism and good and evil and all the finest things in life. The script is very well thought out, full of lots of details that are woven together in a way that keeps you on your toes.
The mood is definitely spoof, and absolutely pitch perfect. I haven't laughed out loud so much since Shaolin Soccer, yet secretly really caring about what was going to happen to the characters. Acting is as over the top as the soundtrack, in permanent crescendo, delivered with a straight face and sincerity that would make the most melancholy of viewers at least giggle a bit.
I enjoyed this movie so much - so utterly out of nowhere, inexplicable, funny, sweet, moving,... where did these ideas come from? It all fits together and makes so much sense you think perhaps the idea was obvious all along, but I'm pretty sure that it was in exactly one persons head ever before he put it on film. And then there are few curveballs that are *definitely* ideas of an insane but brilliant mind .
Very highly recommended!