By Jake O’Bannon, Columnist
You know that feeling you get right before you do a movie review about a Chinese film? It’s a feeling of confusion, doubt, confusion, uncertainty, and confusion all mixed into one. I’m sure you can relate.
This week my review is over the 2007 film “Secret,” which stars and is directed by Jay Chou. Yes, this is the same Jay Chou that was Kato in “The Green Hornet.” So there is that little nugget of knowledge for the six of you who saw “The Green Hornet.”
I chose to review this particular film based off a recommendation by Echo editor-in-chief Brad Crofford. In case you didn’t know, this is Brad’s final week as editor-in-chief, so this review is in honor of him.
Since I began reviewing movies for The Echo in September of 2011, I have never done a foreign film. And there is a good chance my inexperience will show very quickly. So stay with me and we’ll go on this ride together.
The IMDb summary of the film says, “Ye Xiang Lun (known as Jay in the translation), a talented piano player is a new student at the prestigious Tamkang School. On his first day, he meets Lu Xiao Yu (known as Rain in the translation), a pretty girl playing a mysterious piece of music.” That summary does a good job of setting the stage for this fantasy/romance.
When Jay first arrives at the school, he is instantly attracted to Rain. There is something about her that is different from what he knows. She has moments where she comes off as a Chinese version of the Zooey Deschanel/Meg Ryan quirky character. This type of girl is refreshing to Jay, whom has spent most of his life dedicated to his piano playing.
With a foreign film, I’ve learned, there are some things that I believe get lost in translation. For example: the dance scene in “Secret.” The entertainment at the dance is an Elvis impersonator, which is awesome. But the lyrics are the main attraction here. Included are lines like, “I insist with the shade of my manhood, to give heat to my brothers, and leave the chest for the girls’ tears.” Or, “Men with biceps of a mountain, men with loneliness of wolves, men with heated passion, men with warm hearts, that man is me.” Where else would you find lyrics like that?
I joke about that, but being fully committed to a film from a country other than your own really can be an interesting learning experience. As Brad suggested that to me, so I also suggest that to you.
I will avoid spoiling the ending of the film in hopes that you take the leap of faith and watch it. But I will say that there is a plot twist at the end that was, dare I say, Nolan-esque. For the first hour and fifteen minutes of this film everything is pretty straightforward, leaving nothing up to interpretation. If a girl liked a guy, the girl would tell the guy she liked him; it was simple. But when the twist comes, it changes the dynamic of the film completely, putting you into a fantasy world that, at least for me, is unexpected and unique.
I challenge you to get on Netflix and give this film a chance. Not only is it a great fantasy story, but also it is, quite unexpectedly, a powerful romance.
Don’t get me wrong, you will most likely be confused and possibly question my sanity for suggesting it. But try to look past that and enjoy a unique film experience.
To close I would like to thank Brad Crofford for all that he has done for The Echo this year. Working with the paper myself, I can tell you how much effort he has poured into it and how passionate he is about his work. Make sure to thank Brad for all he has done next time you see him. Thank you, Brad. You’ve done a great job.
Editor’s note: Thank you for your two years of faithfully and insightfully reviewing movies for The Echo, Jake. You’ve made The Echo a better paper.