Through Ben Lam Chi – Review, movie reviews, latest news…

“Through the pool to do chi” – a film about the lives of young Vietnamese in the US – has a bright image, but the character lacks depth.

* The article reveals a part of the movie’s content

The work, which hit theaters on April 8, is the first project of director Nguyen Trung Cang. He cherished the topic of young Vietnamese in the US after 20 years living here. Besides the artist clarityMost of the characters are played by young actors. In which, Thuan Nguyen (born in 1992) first starred in a movie as Tuan – an international student.

Trailer "How do you go through the pool?"

Trailer “Cross the pool to do what”. Video: Galaxy

How do you go through the pool? In general, there are simple scenarios, not many unexpected situations. The work follows the “before and after” love story motif – which is the formula for the success of many romantic comedies. The story begins when Tuan went to the US to study finance, living with Uncle Ut (Quang Minh) – a nail salon owner. Here, he meets a girl named Julie (Phuong TiTi) in an ironic situation and begins to get acquainted.

The background and situation of Tuan and Julie were briefly introduced before the two met. Julie needs a large amount of money because she has to pay money for him, and Tuan needs to naturalize according to the wishes of his relatives. With the arrangement of acquaintances, the two plan a fake marriage. After the conversation, when the two sides gradually developed feelings, Julie wanted to withdraw.

Thuan Nguyen (left) on Phuong Titi's side in Qua tank do chi.  Photo: Thanh Huyen

Thuan Nguyen (left) with Phuong Titi in “What to do in the past”. Image: Bar suspension

After a rather promising opening, the film gradually enters the rut by old, over-the-top details. Tuan and Julie’s dates are only sketched, such as taking pictures together, introducing relatives, having dinner at a restaurant… Focusing on dialogue – instead of developing the situation – slows down the pace of the movie, bringing the silhouette of a television work rather than a movie. The film’s dialogue is also the weak point of the project – which is made by a mostly Vietnamese crew in the US. The way Tuan confessed his love to Julie easily made viewers laugh with boring, “cheesy” statements.

Besides the romantic element, the comedy part of the film is not very prominent. The funny segments focus on the character Leo (Duy Khanh) – the male assistant of Uncle Ut at the nail salon. Playing a gay role, Leo had many joke scenes when flirting with Tuan. Most of the comedy pieces have gender colors, sometimes becoming offensive because of repetition.

The performance of the cast only stops at the level of the role. Thuan Nguyen is “made up of shoes” with the role of a handsome male student, good at martial arts. In the scenes where Tuan convinces Julie to believe him, the actor creates sympathy with sincere eyes. Pairing Thuan Nguyen, Phuong Titi is somewhat exhausted, especially in scenes that need to reveal inner depth. In the second half of the film, the director creates a situation where Tuan has to confront the gangsters according to the motif of “heroes saving beauty”. This segment is still forced, mainly for the director to push the climax and create momentum for the two main characters at the end.

The supporting roles are also half-developed. In one scene, the character Leo reveals himself to carry the sadness of being stigmatized, but this detail is only briefly mentioned in the dialogue. The character of Uncle Ut is planted with his own story: a person who ignores personal happiness for a living in America. However, the director left this story line in the dark with an ambiguous ending. After the movie premiere on April 6, Quang Minh said he regretted that the character did not reach the depth he wanted. The artist said: “Initially, I wanted at the end of the film, the role of Uncle Ut must be surprised when openly gay, thereby conveying the dream not to hide his happiness. Unfortunately, the film cannot be exploited in this direction. “.

Quang Minh as Uncle Ut - the owner of Quan's nail salon.  Photo: Thanh Huyen

Quang Minh in the role of Uncle Ut – the owner of the nail salon of “Doing the past”. Image: Bar suspension

The rare plus point of the film lies in the bright, eye-catching images. The work opens with the bustling street atmosphere in Saigon, before moving on to the grand scenes in California, where the main characters live. The image of a man and woman finding each other at the end of the film is depicted in the middle of a sunset field, evoking a romantic nuance like an MV.

However, the film somewhat abuses music in scenes that need emotional elements, making the viewer’s experience diluted. The project has 90% of the filming set in the US, but the life of young Vietnamese overseas has not been reflected in detail, only briefly shown in some scenes at school, part-time job… The story of cultural integration – the original purpose of the director’s filmmaking – thus still blurred, lacking realistic elements.

Tam Ky

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