Secret 不能說的秘密 (2007) – Taiwan

An emotional fantastical tale…

Move off Stephen Fung and sit down Daniel Wu, Jay Chou is officially the best of the pack of new generation actors turned director. It’s always been a pleasure to sit through an emotional tale and a journey into a world that is worthy of undertaking. Debutant director Jay Chou has created something that he can be proud of and in fact it can easily be qualified as a beautiful and romantic little film. Secret is a film that is beautifully shot, coherently produced and wonderfully paced. Neo is still in somewhat disbelief that Jay Chou can be so capable and with a combination of his musical genius, there is no doubt that Jay has created something special. His ability to turn a theme that is as unrealistic into the minds of the audience as something worth journeying through is just magical. To call Secret a good movie is an understatement as in Neo’s honest opinion, it’s been a long time since he saw something so magical, emotional and beautiful.

The movie is about a musical genius meeting a mysterious girl in the school’s old music room and from there it becomes a romantic spark…

Jay Chou performs with distinction as both director and actor and after two big screen disappointments in Initial D and Curse of the Golden Flower; Jay has created a role that fitted his character, his range and his style. Combining his musical talent and his stoic outlook, Jay is easily likable and there are some moments in his interaction with fellow Taiwanese actress (Guey Lun-Mei) is filled with undeniable chemistry. Moving on to his directing, Jay not only excelled in normal sequences, but his constant pursues for artistic camera angles is to be praised as well as applauded. There are some moments within the shots of the beach and the bright blue sky which is both seemingly romantic and beautiful to watch. In fact, in a number of scenes, Neo actually spoke to himself along the lines of: “Geez, what a beautiful shot!” Perhaps, the biggest praise must be given to Jay Chou for not just creating ¾ of a good film like 90% of HK films nowadays, but rather his ability to maintain his form throughout the entire duration.

You can probably tell by now, that I have not disclosed much about what happened in the movie as when you finish watching the film, you will understand the reason behind the decision. The girl (Guey Lun-Mei) who played Jay’s romantic interest is not an outright beautiful chick, but yet there are hints of beauty and sense of attractiveness about her that made her such a lively and likable character. Her performance is one of the main reasons why the film worked and her natural and lively display is a direct contrast to Jay’s stoic and cool outlook. It is perhaps the “next door neighbour” looks about her that added layers within the film, but nonetheless the fresh chick from Marmalade Boy (Taiwanese TV drama) has translated well on the big screen. Her lively yet mysterious personality and raw outlook is easily someone that Neo can relate to which further add to the realism dimension. Anthony Wong also appears as Jay’s father and teacher and he certainly doesn’t disappoint.

All in all, Secret isn’t just yet another romantic tale, but a film that works in a number of dimension. It is a success, not because of its originality, but rather its director ability to sustain the audience attention till the very end. The film is so well paced, that there is rarely a single moment of boredom as even the slightly of gaps and holes are fulfilled with some beautiful camera shots. At its very heart, Secret is about the magic and mystery behind each note of musical movements and at its core the film is very much about a little romantic story. Secret is really a beautiful little film and while the biggest winner to emerge may well be Jay Chou, but the audience are undoubtedly the winners as well. Then again, it is a rare victory for romantic cinema as well as in the mind of Neo… (Neo 2007)

I rate it 9/10

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