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The Air I Breathe 

Directed by Jieho Lee

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[image-4]Published May 29, 2008.
The Air I Breathe
Directed by: Directed by Jieho Lee

Writer/director Jieho Lee had lofty goals for The Air I Breathe. According to IMDb, the film’s “based on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones.” Consequently, characters sport thematically appropriate names like Love and Happiness. (To be fair, these pretentious monikers are never used explicitly, and the high-minded conceit only becomes apparent when the credits roll.) TAIB’s broken into four parts; each examines one of the “cornerstones.” Unsurprisingly, the seemingly disconnected lives of pop star Sorrow (Sarah Michelle Gellar), precognitive gangster Pleasure (Brendan Fraser), sad-sack financial adviser Happiness (Forest Whitaker) and yearning doctor Love (Kevin Bacon) ultimately bump together in oh-so-significant ways. (How convenient that Love ends up watching a re-broadcast of an interview in which Sorrow reveals that she has a super-rare blood type right when he’s searching for a donor with that blood type, to provide a transfusion for the snake-poison-addled object of his affection. Cinematic destiny---
you beautiful bastard.) The film’s stories eventually intertwine with cinematic precision that’s stunning when done right (see Pulp Fiction), but often ends up being pat. Here, it’s the latter.
---Lindsay McCarney

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