Review: LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT Shows The Value Of Film As Art

FIRST IMPRESSION

If you get the opportunity to see Long Day's Journey Into Night, you should definitely watch it, particularly if you can see it in the intended 3D theatrical format.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Long Day’s Journey Into Night is a new Chinese film written and directed by Bi Gan. The movie tells the story of a man who, revisiting a town from his past, searches for a long lost love and remembers the time he spent with her. It has played at festivals including the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

This film is less focused on telling a story, or even building a meaning, than creating a particular feeling. This is one of the more accessible avant garde movies you will find, but it is extremely avant garde nonetheless. There is a lot of subtlety and nuance in the emotion of the film that is what makes it so complex and thought-provoking. Although there isn’t much to look for deeper in terms of story or theme, the movie demands a second viewing because of its emotional complexity and the fact that watching it again from a different perspective may allow you to feel a different way.

The film’s use of characterization is also quite interesting. The main character, Luo Hongwu, basically serves as the lens through which the audience is supposed to view the events. The movie works best when you approach it in this way. If you can attempt to place yourself into the protagonist’s mindset, you will be able to see and understand more clearly the emotional journey upon which he has embarked. All of the supporting characters seem to represent a part of the protagonist’s psyche, further reinforcing the film’s emotional arc.

Additionally, the ways in which the movie plays with the perception of reality is very interesting. The whole film has a surreal and dreamlike feel to it, but this is particularly the case during the second half of the movie. This overall feeling to the film helps elevate it to the intended metaphysical level. While watching the movie, you will feel like you have left our world and went into a different, more unusual world.

long day's journey into night smoke
Yongzhong Chen in a scene from Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Photo by Liu Hongyu, courtesy Kino Lorber.

The actors in the film do a good job in their roles. Jue Huang is solid as the protagonist. Obviously, since the movie is centered around emotion, much of the film falls on his shoulders and his ability to deliver that emotional range. He is able to carry the movie, his performance giving the film a much-needed feeling of groundedness. Since the movie is so focused on him, few of the supporting actors are truly given a chance to shine, but they complement him well nonetheless.

It is on a technical level that the film is most impressive. The movie is absolutely beautiful in ways that you will not even see in most American art films. There is an ambitious and poetic quality to the movie that makes it really stand out from much of the rest of what you will see today. This type of movie is what makes you realize that the art of cinema is dynamic and very much alive.

Perhaps the film’s biggest draw, and the reason why it has gotten so much attention, is that the last 59 minutes of the movie is comprised of a single tracking shot (presented in 3D when shown in capable theaters). Although it wasn’t possible for POPAXIOM to see it in a theatrical setting, it is highly recommended to do so if you at all have the ability to. This may not be a big-budget theatrical spectacle, but it still deserves to be seen on the big screen regardless.

Overall, Long Day’s Journey Into Night was a challenging and impressive film. In no way is it meant for everyone, but if you are a fan of beautiful, slow, and contemplative dramas, this is one you will want to be sure to check out.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night is now playing in select theaters.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood: The Golden Age Reimagined | Casting Famous/Infamous Characters | Netflix

The cast and creators of HOLLYWOOD detail casting the complex characters in pursuit of the Hollywood dream. Dive deeper into how the actors stellar performances command the screen to form an unparalleled revision of this Golden Age. SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 183 million paid memberships in…

Sex Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 2 Episode 4

Wyatt explores the consequences of gendered toys, protecting women from their greatest threat, and San Francisco’s progressive sex education program. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is also available to stream on HBO via HBO Max. Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas follows comedian and writer Wyatt Cenac as he…

Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood: The Golden Age Reimagined | The Golden Age of Hollywood | Netflix

To bring 1940s Hollywood to life, the cast and crew detail how every aspect from the costume design, makeup and hairstyling reveal the character of this glamorous golden age that serves as the anchor in the limited series. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 183 million paid memberships…

Research, Reef and Punitive Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 1 Episode 9

Wyatt Cenac notes the historial exclusion of women in medical research, explores man-made reefs, and examines the process of restorative justice. Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas is also available to stream on HBO and via HBO Max. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is also available to stream on…

Regular Heroes Docuseries I Episode 4 Trailer I Prime Video

Their heroism doesn't end when the work day is done. Watch the latest episode of Regular Heroes, featuring special guest Kelly Rowland, now. https://bit.ly/RegularHeroes This inspiring weekly docuseries highlights the heroic efforts of essential workers across the US, as told by special guests Alicia Keys, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, Kelly Rowland and more. Regular Heroes…

Mental Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 2 Episode 3

Wyatt considers what living in a city does to your brain, finds a new alternative to sitting at a desk all day, and travels to Salem, Oregon, to see how the city is addressing the mental health concerns of students. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is also…

Food, Rain and Skid Row Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 1 Episode 4

Wyatt Cenac examines the various forms of sanctuary for undocumented laborers, suggests a better way for cities to handle rain, and looks at how community efforts in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles aim to decrease the police presence in the area. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Wyatt Cenac’s Problem…

Energy, Millenial and Community Policing Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 1 Episode 3

Wyatt Cenac tries to make coal miners go solar, move millenials into battleships, and understand community policing. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is also available to stream on HBO via HBO Max. Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas follows comedian and writer Wyatt Cenac as he explores America’s most…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here