Perhaps Love Review - By Wendy Teo - December 07, 2005
STARRING: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Jacky Cheung, Zhou Xun, Ji Jin Hee
DIRECTOR: Peter Chan
The skinny: Top actress Sun Na (Zhou Xun) comes face to face with her ex-lover, Lin Jiandong (Takeshi Kaneshiro), when the latter agrees to co-star in her latest movie. It is directed by Sun Na's boyfriend, Nie Wen (Jacky Cheung). Despite Jiandong's persistence, Sun Na refuses to acknowledge him. Jiandong can't get over her betrayal for the sake of fame. 10 years ago, while a creative drought leaves Nie Wen wondering whether his relationship with Sun Na is one of mutual benefit or true love.
When the movie starts taking on a dangerous parallel to their real-life love triangle, Sun Na is forced to make a decision between the two men.
The review: A musical within a movie sounds unwieldy in concept, but Peter Chan has proven otherwise. Peter segues the three key characters' mirroring reel and real lives so masterfully that there's no room for incoherence. The well-contained Broadway bits - choreographed by Farah Khan, who also did Mira Nair's Vanity Fair - are lovely bursts of colour, dance and song that perk up the production at the right intervals.
The soundtrack by Peter Kam and Leon Ko has a good mix of catchy musical numbers and modern pop ballads to distinguish between the two story lines. And Korean actor Ji Jin Hee (Jewel In The Palace) proves to be quite the surprise despite his wonky Mandarin. While his multiple-cameo part as the memory angel Montage - who pops up everywhere as a chauffeur, projectionist, noodle shop owner etc - doesn't exactly stretch his acting chops, Jin Hee pulls off a decent showing with his vocals.
As the only cast member with proper singing credentials, Jacky doesn't disappoint with his expansive baritone. Unfortunately, the only moment for him to shine is in his musical solos.
For, in the acting department, being up against Zhou Xun and Takeshi Kaneshiro leaves him in the supporting shadow. Zhou Xun is magnetic as the opportunistic Sun Na heading for a comeuppance. She swings between fragility and calculated shrewdness with ease, and is the perfect match to Takeshi, who displays a never-seen-before vulnerability as the jilted Jiandong.
The camera simply laps up his close-ups at every opportunity, but his performance will show that he's no mere idol. Perhaps Love will make the most cynical viewer fall for him.
The one scene that justifies the ticket price: When Jiandong reveals to Sun Na the reason behind his decade-long insomnia.
Takeshi cries with such conviction and heartbreak that it will give you goose-bumps.
The one scene that will eject you from your seat: The slow-mo 'death fall' of the circus master in the musical - Jacky/Nie Wen/Circus Master's cramped expression of horror was corny beyond compare.
Best quote: A bitter Jiandong tells Sun Na: 'You made me love a person I despised, and made me despise myself.'
Moral of the story: Don't let fame get to your head.
Another article: Interview with Takeshi Kaneshiro - Prima donna or painfully shy?