Jay Chou is well known for being one of Asia’s most talented artists. He is most well known for his ability to blend the Chinese sound into modern day styles, resulting in sweet addictive melodies. Completely versatile, he is one of those rare musicians that is an accomplished pianist and composes much of his own songs, as well as for many of Asia’s foremost artists. Though Jay’s acting debut has certainly been lacking, with some even making fun of him in “Initial D”, and his performance in “The Curse of the Golden Flower”, his performance in “Secret” is nothing to laugh at. However, this may be the fact that Jay is essentially playing .. himself. In his first directorial debut, he succeeds in making not just a good film but a great film. Using his talents in music, Jay Chou has centered the story, not surprisingly, around his greatest strength: the music.
The story begins when Jay’s character (Jay, Chinese movies tend to use the same name as the actor’s name) starts school (where the focus is music) as a new student. His father, played by Anthony Wong here, is the school principal.
Jay becomes curious when one day, he hears music coming from the old piano room. There he meets Xiao Yu (Rain), who has just finished playing the song he heard. As he gets to know Xiao Yu, he finds her very mysterious in nature. After a misunderstanding drives the two of them apart, he discovers that things are not what they seem, and it is then when he tries to learn the secret that Xiao Yu holds.
I have seen this film countless times, and I have nothing but praise for it. I was rather apprehensive going into the film, seeing as this was Jay’s directorial debut and I did not want it to, to put it simply, suck. What I found was in my view, a treasure. One There is not one thing about the film that made it stand out – the core of the plot has been done similarily before, as has the centering on music, the acting decent, but as a whole, it succeeded. One of my favorite scenes is the piano battle of which I will not disclose more. I found the film to be refreshingly beautiful, with a color palette of dark browns, gold, and yellow, which seemed to work very well with the mystery and at the same time, added richness to the screen. There is also something very innocent and pure about the story, and the soundtrack is the perfect companion.
* Possible Spoilers Ahead *
I love movies that contain elements of time-travel, and I felt with “Secret”, that this was a complete surprise thrown in. The entire mood of the film, upon discovering Xiao Yu’s secret changed. The mood became more serious, with the colors now being used darker, and the music sounding more urgent. The movie is clearly plot-driven, as the characters are not as well developed as one would hope, but for what the movie focuses on, it does very well. When all is said and done, the movie is really a love story, with a twist thrown in.
Highly recommended. 4.5 black keys / 5 black keys
Movie name in pinyin: Bu Neng Shuo de Mimi