Connect with us

Movie Reviews

After Yang ★★★★★



Director: Kogonada

Cast: Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Justin H. Min, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Haley Lu Richardson

Release: TBC

As we have been separated from our loved ones for long periods, the joys of modern technology have connected us. The global pandemic has taught the world that time is precious. Perhaps for some like myself, the last twenty-four months has made me lose all concepts of time because of the lack of face to face human interaction and relying on my phone to collect memories, so I don’t have to store them in my mind.

Kogonada’s sophomore film After Yang is a film that will deliver clarity on making the most of our time together. The directors phenomenal debut, Columbus demonstrated that a new talent has arrived on the cinematic scene, but he also left us craving for more.

When his young daughter’s (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) beloved companion – an android named Yang (Justin H. Min) – malfunctions, Jake (Colin Farrell) searches for a way to repair him. In the process, Jake discovers the life that has been passing in front of him, reconnecting with his wife (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter across a distance he didn’t know was there.

After Yang is a poignantly meditative experience that is difficult to put into words; exploring time and memories is evident, but what does time mean to us as viewers? The present is precious, and we should cherish each moment. Even in our darkest days, there can be light. Kogonada allows his narrative to breathe and flow in its unique way as every frame moves you into tears. His clear visuals will enable you to focus on the broader subject matter like his previous work. Symbolism is a trope Kogonada relishes in, and there is a lot to dissect, but this is why his work is so memorable and challenging.

While all of this is deeply methodical, this domestic sci-fi drama opens up in a way that you wouldn’t imagine. Kogonada channels a lot of choreographed familial energy utilising his love for music to settle us within this world. It leaves you with a smile on your face as the emotional rapport of the cast can be felt.

On a production level, After Yang establishes a natural world where technology is far more advanced. Yang is the real beating heart of the piece regardless of him being an AI, and the love the family have for him is universal. The further Jakes goes on this quest to fix Yang, the more he realises how he has lost perspective of this family growing up as he has allowed Yang to store these memories. Jake accepts this, but this realisation to live for the moment grows within him.

Life can be heartbreaking and beautiful, and the cast gives such emotionally internalised performances that resonate so much. Colin Farrell stands tall within Jake as he realises what he must do moving forward in life. He expresses so much with little dialogue; at times, his connection with the script is so strong. Justin H. Min delivers so much warmth to his performance as Yang the AI. His chemistry with Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja is tremendous, and the way he expresses heritage and culture to Mika adds even more depth to the tale. The epicentre of the family and the real key to understanding Kogonada’s vision.

After Yang is a reflective masterwork from Kogonoda, it will leave you pondering, and this is exactly how you should feel.

Lover of all things indie and foreign language. Can be found rambling on YouTube at times!

Just For You