The Air I Breathe Review, by Ken Fox of TV Guide

According to an obscure ancient Chinese proverb, life is composed of four basic emotions: happiness, sorrow, pleasure and love. Co-writer-director Jieho Lee uses these ingredients as the structuring device for his first feature, crafting four interlocking stories that are meant to somehow show how each sentiment determine a character's life. In "Happiness," a milquetoast broker (Forest Whitaker) who has always played by the rules with little to show for it, overhears three of his high rolling coworkers talking about a fixed horse race. Convinced that the time finally has come to take one big risk, the broker impulsively takes out a loan with a shady bookie and places a $50,000 bet. When the horse unexpectedly breaks down during the race, the broker finds himself deeply in debt to a vicious gangster named Fingers (Andy Garcia). The hulking henchman that comes to collect on his behalf, however, turns out to be one of the broker's regular clients (Brendan Fraser), a mysterious, silent stranger who, instead of cutting of one his broker's fingers, hands him something he will soon need: a gun. In "Pleasure," we learn exactly how Fingers' enforcer knew what was in his broker's near future: He's clairvoyant. This handy psychic ability, however, wasn't enough to save a childhood friend from being killed in a brawl when they were young, and this failure to change the future he could see coming has since become a source of deep, fatalistic sorrow. He gets a chance to redeem himself when Fingers orders him to look after his wayward nephew (Emile Hirsh), and the kids gets into some serious trouble in a high-end whorehouse. In "Sorrow," a popular singer known only as "Trista" (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who also suffers from a childhood trauma -- she saw her father get hit by a car and die -- discovers that her sleazy manager (Todd Stashwick) has emptied her accounts and virtually sold her to Fingers in order to extricate himself from his own gambling debts.

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The Air I Breathe


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