Solid performances from an all-star cast bring this ensemble drama to life.
As parallel stories unfold, the viewer discovers unlikely connections between several seemingly unrelated people. Though the film is divided up into segments entitled "Happiness," "Pleasure," "Sorrow," and "Love," the mood is melancholy overall.
Splattered with violent acts, THE AIR I BREATHE touches on the aforementioned themes and more, pondering the meaning of life and death through characters who live on the edge and risk everything for the thrill of joy, chance, and escape, even if that means death.
The film begins with Forest Whitaker playing a bored and frustrated nine-to-fiver who feels stuck in his routine. After taking a huge risk on a whim and losing it all, the doomed businessman has the unlucky fortune of meeting with Brendan Fraser's character, a numb hit-man who feels no remorse until crossing paths with a troubled pop star (Sarah Michelle Gellar).
At the center of much of this chaos is Fingers (Andy Garcia), a ruthless villain intent on killing anyone who gets in the way of his success.
The plot exudes strategically placed coincidences, writer-director Jieho Lee anchors the film with clever editing and a thoughtful script, which is careful to cover events from multiple points of view.
Julie Delpy and Emile Hirsch give dimension to the stories as secondary characters whose actions become central to the plot.