Kenny’s review published on Letterboxd:
Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer Day is famous for a few things: It's running time of 3 hours and 57 minutes, just shy of 4 hours long. The unavailability of the film itself. No DVD or Blu-Ray for this, but we are all praying for Criterion to release one and release one as soon as possible. The only way to watch this is in VHS quality and as one can expect, the quality is just downright abysmal in every way. But once you get used it to it, it doesn't look as bad anymore. But still, it's pretty bad. Not going to sugarcoat it. Look at it for yourself.
But as for the film itself, A Brighter Summer Day is one of the greatest landmarks and achievements in cinematic history. We really get to know each and every single major and minor character that comes across Si'r and Co. War in this film is hiding behind a corner, just waiting to be unleashed at any second and we really get how unstable it was back in 1960's Taiwan. Little details here and there to create this vast and massive world that rivals even the highest-rated of films. It's a challenging watch, I ain't gonna lie, but it's one of the greatest films I've ever had the pleasure of watching and I will never forget this experience until my very last breath.
It's a lot of things at once, but Yang surely knows what he's doing and balances everything so well. A Brighter Summer Day is a love story. A story about loyalty. A story about likable rough and tough adolescent criminals and the ups and downs they go through. A story about jealousy and deception. But overall and at it's core, to put it in the simplest terms possible, it's a film about troubled youth and all their troubles. This film doesn't take it's lengthy running time for granted. Every scene and moment feels necessary and important to the overall story. Whether it's a scene introducing new characters, showing a different side of a previously introduced character we hadn't seen before, or anything else, A Brighter Summer Day is confident about everything it's showing to it's audience.
So many different emotions running through the grand bloodstream of A Brighter Summer Day. Things will never be the same for some who see this. It's a film that can and will impact many people's lives. It's just a matter of when they will get around to it. Criterion can surely help us in that case...