Intermittently, I finally finished watching "Flowers in Bloom". Overall, it feels like a drama that starts off strong but loses its momentum, focusing more on visual aesthetics than on exploring the plot in a nostalgic and retro style.
I was initially attracted by Wong Kar-wai's unique cinematography and film aesthetics, but the excessive use of camera transitions, mirrored glass, and slow-motion shots became visually overwhelming and dizzying after a while.
Certain characters using specific background music made them feel stereotypical. When Miss Wang is excited, "My Future is Not a Dream" plays, and when she is sad, "Looking Back" plays. By the way, why didn't they use the version by Jiang Yuheng for "Looking Back"? Experienced viewers can guess the plot development from the background music.
However, this drama doesn't really leave much to guess. It's about a prodigal son, Bao, who deeply loves his ex-girlfriend, who dumped him until death. It combines elements of business competition, family drama, and the tide of the times. There is also a scene with Chung Chun-to, the Hong Kong chef, which connects to the 1995 film "Full Throttle" directed by Tsui Hark.
Whenever I see this scene, I can't help but think of "Full Throttle" and the late Leslie Cheung, who passed away like the blooming flowers.
The relationship between the TV series and the original work is basically a "borrowed identity". Apart from the names of the characters and locations, even the punctuation marks don't match.
Bao and Li Li#
In the final episode, Mr. A appears, a face resembling Bao? This inevitably makes people speculate that Mr. A is Bao, but their ages don't match, and the actual plot developments don't match either.
If Bao is Mr. A, then Li Li and Qiang, originally two of Mr. A's trusted subordinates, were they just playing house under his command?
One can only say that they look alike, or maybe Bao is Li Li's brother. If they look alike, it's understandable that Li Li would be shocked the first time she sees Bao. But she wasn't.
So, there's another possibility, it's all a smoke screen. Bao imagines himself as Mr. A, saying "I am not a corpse collector, I have my own methods"; Li Li imagines Bao as Mr. A, thinking they are equally outstanding and charming; the director imagines Bao as Mr. A for the audience, forcefully portraying Bao and Li Li as a pair of lovers who love each other but cannot be together.
I think it's unnecessary to make Mr. A's face the same as Bao's, it's just adding unnecessary complications.
Bao and Li Li don't have any love between them, they have a business relationship where they cooperate and sometimes take advantage of each other in the business world.
I don't see any romance between these two. Li Li is deeply in love with Mr. A, and Bao is deeply in love with Xue Zhi. As for Bao and Li Li, there is no spark between them. In the end, they part ways with their suitcases without even saying goodbye.
Since their relationship doesn't even qualify as friendship, what's the point of making Mr. A look like Bao?
Bao hasn't lost, nor does he owe anyone anything. He has gained a lot.
He went from being a foreign trade manager to a real estate developer, and even held a banquet for the Qilin Club, avenging the humiliation he suffered from the United Fleet and sending his important opponent, Qiang, to prison. No matter how you look at it, he is a big winner, so why does the ending feel so desolate, leaving without a sound?
The failure of "Flowers in Bloom" lies in its forced endings for each character, like the concluding paragraph of an elementary school essay that must summarize the main idea of the entire text. There's no need to cover everything and explain each character's fate in detail, depriving the audience of their imagination. This kind of ending is neither perfect nor sophisticated, it's just like a cliché.
The final scene of Bao handing his suitcase to Xiao Xiao Gu, wearing a windbreaker, shrinking his neck, and leaving the Peace Hotel in the wind and snow is enough.
The audience can imagine that he is bidding farewell to his golden age, with the flowers in bloom fading away. Perhaps he will become an ordinary person, or perhaps he will continue to ride the waves when the next wave comes.
Why bother coming back to watch the fireworks, standing in the middle of the rapeseed flowers, not feeling awkward, forcibly elevating the theme.
Li Li's ending is even more absurd. With tens of millions of dollars at stake, she doesn't even blink an eye. As one of Mr. A's trusted subordinates, she is a powerful and decisive female boss on Huanghe Road, fierce and ruthless in her methods.
Li Li used the proceeds from selling Zhizhen Garden to repay all the remaining debts of Mr. A, and voluntarily confessed to the police for using someone else's ID card. She was sentenced to one year in prison, and a few years later, she became a nun at the South China Temple in Guangzhou.
For such a woman, using this paragraph as her ending? Would a person worth tens of millions of dollars willingly confess to using someone else's ID card and go to jail? It's an insult to the intelligence of the audience, completely nonsensical!
Let's not talk about the huge gap between the drama and reality, just based on the character's development in the plot, is she the kind of outstanding party member who firmly upholds the dignity of the law and doesn't take advantage of the masses? Is she the kind of person who becomes a nun for love? Don't tell me such nonsense!
Li Li's ending, selling Zhizhen Garden at a high price and leaving without looking back, is more in line with her independent and assertive personality. Obviously, she is the next Lin Tai.
Wang Mingzhu and Lingzi#
I really can't understand Xiao Wang. After Bao publicly took a slap for her in Shanghai, she turned around and competed with him for business? She promised to earn back that anger tenfold or a hundredfold, and she did it, leaving Bao in the dust.
Every time Xiao Wang appears, she brings her own background music, portraying herself as a girl of the times, daring and ambitious, believing that there is gold everywhere in Shanghai. It's like she's high on chicken blood and not like a normal person.
I actually find the character Mei Ping more relatable, making me want to hate her but unable to.
During the scenes in Night Tokyo with Bao, the happiest and most heartwarming moments in the entire drama, surrounded by a group of good friends, friends who are a bit ambiguous and warm, waiting for you to have dinner together every day, there is an endless amount of things to talk about, quarrels and fights, but never leaving each other.
The reason Lingzi stays in Night Tokyo even after Bao leaves is because she is afraid that if she leaves, she will take away Bao's luck as well. What if?
This kind of woman is so lovable. Dependent but not attached, independent and sensible. I think Lingzi and Bao would be the perfect match if they were together.
Uncle and Chief Jin#
Chief Jin is the person who betrayed Uncle to climb up the ladder. Every time I see Uncle's constipated face, I can't understand. You betrayed me, caused me to go to jail, and not only do you not feel guilty, but you also have that disdainful expression as if you despise me like a cockroach.
He maintains a professional expression throughout, even the hug with Xiao Wang at the end feels stiff and dull, not daring to reveal any hint of human emotion. I think this character is the most difficult to grasp because she is not playing a specific character, she is playing the system.
Uncle is like Zhuge Liang by Liu Bei's side, strategizing and directing the situation. It can be said that without Uncle, there would be no Bao.
Knowing that Bao is a prodigal son, but still opposing the boss at Walmart at every turn. He originally wanted to give a favor to Miss Wang, but as a financial manager, why take the order so seriously? It would have been better to just let him have it. Why bother?
I guess the main reason is that Bao wanted to go all-in. Uncle probably thought that if there was a steady stream of orders, he could continue to be the CFO and Bao wouldn't end up with nothing. But Bao acted as if he was willing to risk everything, so Uncle had no choice but to withdraw.
In the end, I think Uncle's ending should be like this: Mei Ping leaves on the 27th, comes to see Uncle for the last time, and he behaves completely differently from usual, showing no mercy. This is similar to the first time Uncle met Bao and tested him in various ways.
Without Bao, Uncle still has two daughters to feed, so he sets his sights on Mei Ping, who is willing to do anything for business and is not like Bao, who is emotionally driven and not mature. Uncle doesn't even hate his niece, who betrayed him and showed disrespect to her elders, he even admires Chief Jin from the bottom of his heart. They have both struggled within the system, fought against each other, and disowned each other; they have been hypocritical to get by, stepping on the bodies of their comrades to climb up, respecting the strong and surviving by the law of the jungle.
Assisting Mei Ping is actually less troublesome than assisting Bao.
I think Lu Meilin's acting is outstanding, full of emotions, with a bold and arrogant personality, a true villainous face. Her expression after slapping Bao is detailed and her acting is explosive. While everyone is focused on and praising Hu Ge's dedication in getting slapped, let's not overlook Lu Meilin's brilliant performance after the slap.
My impression of Chen Long is still stuck on Wu Song, but I didn't expect him to fit the role of Tao Tao so well, even kneeling on a washboard with great vigor. He and Teacher Ge add a touch of Shanghai flavor to the drama, injecting comedic effects.
Tao Tao borrows 300 yuan from Bao, and when she leaves singing "Little Bird", her back view is a reflection of most men who are suffocated by life and can't breathe. She wants to fly but can't fly high, wants to leave but can't escape. In the end, in the hospital, she looks up to the sky and howls, still stubbornly claiming that she will live more freely than Bao, living freely with her wife and child.
If you want to be so carefree, you wouldn't hesitate for so long.
Tao Tao, like most men bound by their families, gradually loses his sharp edges and becomes like a crab with its hands and feet tied. He plays mahjong, bowls; some people choose fishing, playing NAS. They can never take off in their lifetime.
Fang Fang and Mr. A are equally mysterious, hardly showing their faces. It's easy to see the director's intention, Mr. A is a symbol in himself, and Fang Fang represents a symbol, like a wildcard in regular expressions, matching all those spouses of men who are trapped in a desperate struggle.
Fan Zhiyi, I guess she wanted to kill the person who designed the poster cover for her.
The character of Mr. Fan, besides being funny and annoying, ultimately helps Miss Wang get on the right track in her career and then waves goodbye to the world. His role is to dilute some of the cruelty of the business world.
The small shop owner is a storyteller, providing additional information when the plot cannot be explained by the main narrative. Like a wandering monk, he exists outside of the plot. If we were to find a character name from the original work, he would be called Xiao Mao.
With wise eyes, a carefree demeanor. The beauty of the world is transient, life is but a dream, cigarettes can't solve the bitterness of life, and strong liquor can't dispel the sorrows of the world. So, he sells cigarettes first, then sells flowers. The main theme is that flowers are like dreams, gathering and dispersing like the wind.