Reel Freak

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Reel Review – The Air I Breathe (2008)


The Air I Breathe is one of those movies where each character has an inevitable destined connection to each other, whether you know it right away or not.  A friend recommended I give it a watch, so I decided to go for it.  This is the directorial debut of Jieho Lee, and since then his only movie. It stars Brendan Fraser, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kevin Bacon, Forest Whitaker, Andy Garcia and Emile Hirsch. The film plays with big cast names, though manages to deliver a story that, while seemingly important, ends up feeling mediocre.

The Air I Breathe is centered around the idea of an ancient Chinese proverb, in which life is broken down into four levels of emotion: Happiness, Love, Sorrow, and Pleasure. Four main characters’ lives each represent one of these emotions. Happiness (Whitaker) is a man who loses a bet and decides to rob a bank for money, Pleasure (Fraser) is a gangster who has a distinct ability to see fragments of the future, Sorrow (Gellar) is an up-and-coming pop star who’s career takes an unwilling turn for the worst, and Love (Bacon) is a doctor who must attempt to save the love of his life from imminent death. Each of these characters’ lives cross paths at one point or another; some apparent throughout the film, and some not until the very end.

The thing with this movie is that it does have an interesting concept. Each individual story is focused on for around twenty minutes, while each keep bleeding right into the next one’s plot. Unfortunately, this is one of the many instances where, no matter how famous the cast, the movie itself just doesn’t achieve a huge level of success.


For the twenty to twenty-five minutes Forest Whitaker is on-screen, his character is one of the most well-played of all, though Sarah Michelle Gellar’s performance is very gripping as well.

Another thing that I enjoyed was the brief role that Clark Gregg had in the film, who brought a lighter, funnier side to his few minutes of screen time.

Unfortunately, while a few of the scenes involved chases or fights, the camera was pretty shaky, leaving you to only imagine what was happening by the sound or what is shown in the aftermath.

If you’re looking for a psychological drama/thriller that has just enough thrills to keep you interested for the film’s 95-minute runtime, give The Air I Breathe a try. It has a good outlook on the ripple effect people’s actions may have on each other by chance.

My Reel Review – 6.7/10

Written by Josh Sazin on January 15th, 2014


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