September 18, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s rare that a film with the visual cool of Happy Together has much emotional warmth under its surface, but Wong Kar-Wai’s study of a gay breakup is slick and poignant. Hoping to restart their romance, Lai (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) and Ho (Leslie Cheung) leave Hong Kong for Argentina only to part again after a misguided road trip. Their early run-in at a tango bar is just the first stop on the miserable path to Splitsville. While the former works odd jobs to earn plane fare home, the latter works the streets, turning tricks. Shooting improvisationally with his longtime cinematographer Christopher Doyle, Kar-Wai (Chungking Express) puts the gloss and grunge of MTV — jump cuts, lurid color, druggy slo-mo, and all — to the service of sustained meditation and so captures the weird, familiar rhythms of a last tango. A-

type
Movie
mpaa
Unrated
director
Wong Kar-Wai
Cast
Leslie Cheung
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