Jul 27, 2007|
A romance that could only have emerged from the head of a juvenile (although creative) young man, Jay Chou’s directorial debut proves that he should stick to his day job. Secret is amateurish, poorly scripted and burdened with too many ideas that threaten to pull the paper-thin plot apart. The movie opens promisingly, with the introduction of the two main characters, Lu (Chou) and Rain (newcomer Lun-mei Kwai), who are music students at the academy where Jay’s father teaches. Lu is a brooding sensitive type; Rain is the shy outsider and they are united by their love for the piano. But the film soon falls prey to clichés of adolescent love: their budding romance is relayed through the standard stolen glances in classrooms, piano duets and bike rides home, set to the sound of swelling strings.
What’s most preposterous about this movie is Rain’s secret (clue: a mysterious tune played on a certain piano), which threatens her budding relationship. In a brave but ultimately baffling move, the film shifts gears towards the middle, turning from gooey romance to something more sinister. The resulting mish-mash of romance, horror, comedy and fantasy could’ve become glorious pulp fiction in the right hands, but Chou’s storytelling is unconvincing, and we’re left with an extended music video. It’s a shame, because there’s real potential in this film. The leads all give highly believable performances, and Anthony Wong, in particular, shines as Jay’s eccentric, widowed father. But on the whole, the movie is never able to transcend these scattered moments, regrettably leaving viewers to connect the dots themselves.