The Air I Breathe

Movies
The Air I Breathe

Little things mean so much. In Jieho Lee’s debut, it’s the butterfly, a wondrous omen observed by a down-on-his-luck stockbroker (Whitaker). That computer-generated monarch is just the first indication that The Air I Breathe, which poses as a hard, postmodern crime story, has a
gooey center: The thing appears to have fluttered in from a Mariah Carey video.

Air is a series of four interconnected stories. In the first, titled “Happiness,” Whitaker places a $50,000 bet on a horse called Butterfly (aha!) and finds himself in debt to a sadistic mobster named Fingers (Garcia). In “Pleasure,” Fingers’s lieutenant (Fraser) must shepherd the boss’s obnoxious nephew (Emile Hirsch) around town. In “Sorrow,” Fingers has acquired the contract of a difficult pop starlet named Trista (Gellar). In “Love,” a doctor (Kevin Bacon) smitten with a sexy herpetologist (Julie Delpy) turns to Trista for her rare blood type when his lady is bitten by a viper.

The final installment teeters close to camp, a sensibility that might have actually rescued Air. Instead, the film wallows in pop-psych platitudes; a series of flashbacks reveal that each of our main characters was wounded in childhood—a tidy explanation for why they’re all fucked-up. Now if somebody could just explain how this exercise in silliness got greenlit.

By: Tom Beer

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Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Thursday December 13 2007
Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jieho Lee
Cast: Forest Whitaker
Brendan Fraser
Andy Garcia
Sarah Michelle Gellar
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