Saturday, April 5, 2008
In Asian, young people might not know who Justin Timberlake is, but I bet they all know heartthrob pop star Jay Chou (周杰伦). After his appearance in Zhang Yimou's "Curse of the Golden Flower (满城尽带黄金甲)," his movie carrer began to take off on top of his success in music. But he doesn't stop there. He presents us his directorial debut "Secret (不能说的秘密)" (Taiwan 2007, 101 min.), a lavish looking melodrama about high school romance.
Jay Chou plays Xiang Lun who is a new prestigious student at Tamkang Secondary School studying piano. He meets another piano student Xiao Yu on campus and falls for her, while another girl Qing Yi has a crush on him. Xiao Yu suddenly disappears after a mishap during a date with Xiang Lun. Unable to forget Xiao Yu, Xiang Lun constantly searches for her and for the "secret" melody she played when they first met.
The film already sounds like an episode of endless Korean melodrama series. For most part it is, without much dramatic happenings. Chou perhaps also realizes this weakness, so toward the end of the film, the story takes a sharp turn with an unexpected dramatic twist. However, it's a little too late and disconnected from the rest of the film.
Playing Xiang Lun, Chou definitely shows his piano training that he began at the age of four. I am also impressed by his skills in the kitchen. I wish I were equally impressed by his film though.
Arguably it's very difficult to figure out the lyrics in Chou's songs by listening to them, but that doesn't bother Chou's mass fan base a bit. Similarly, even "Secret" lacks complex characters and an engrossing story, Chou delights his fans with his impressive production and himself.