There are certainly some ambitious and admirable stylistic decisions placed in a few scenes — some piercing use of color too here and there — but this felt like 20 chronological (wannabe) Sean Baker short films tossed into a two-hour runtime. It blows my mind how “try-hard” this film’s script is when it comes to it wanting to allude both natural and compelling dialogue, which evidently causes it to commit the very opposite because of this desperate push. Not to mention, the movie is also bombarded by mostly one-note-written stereotyped or fixated characters that inorganically pop in and out of screen like they’re a part of a school play whenever the plot needs them.
Admittedly though, it’s easy to understand the passion behind the project given that it’s inspired by very tragic and real stories for which its dying to replicate, yet more so, “modify” cinematically for a wider or more accessible *the issue* audience. Nonetheless, this motive leads to the making of a story that yearns to be taken seriously because of its inceptive circumstances despite thinking that it also needs to come off wishy-washy and sensationalized. A sweeping hunk of scenes in Blue Bayou have some of the most forced drama I’ve seen in a while, and this circles back to its misguided desire for wanting to whip-out so many plot-lines and furthermore incomplete or, more so, shallow thematic directions to dissect but in such constraint and sometimes redundant segments. This film solely exists to show the absolute surface line, standard peek into immigrant suffering by compressing tons of rudimentary possibilities into a claustrophobic timeframe and to additionally introduce an awfully glib memo for uninformed audiences of the discriminative law being explained at hand. But even at that, it could of at least appeared far less contrived narrative-wise while doing so so we could authentically feel like we were in the shoes of an immovable victim and not constantly manipulated to cry from the many mic-droppings of formulaic and overdramatized character arcs, underdeveloped revelations, or coincidental incidents that he and his family face throughout.
Although, Justin Chon, I see that you are a Wong Kar-Wai fan from your low frame-rate effects. Niceee.
“Blue Bayou” is now playing in theaters.