This story was about a magazine photographer, Yang Ruo Yi, and her discoveries by using her camera. She was supposed to be on vacation and tried to relax from the hectic workload. One day a bird flew into her house and she ended up snapping pictures of its movements. Determined to snap more shots of its course, she followed it outside. She took so many random shots until she was satisfied with her achievement. (Or more like the bird was no longer within reach.) In the darkroom, she developed the photos to admire her work of the bird but she ended up discovering something much more interesting. It wasn’t so interesting at first because it was just plain curiosity with spotting a couple across the building. What became more interesting was when she was out sight-seeing and photographed the views surrounding her neighborhood that she realized the story behind the couple that she’d become even more intrigued by it. That couple wasn’t a couple after all but they were actually a pair of cheaters who sought out one another’s company at that apartment building that she managed to capture on that eventful day.
At first, it was just curiosity that she was digging or following the cheating couple to find out about their separate lives. Yet she later found out much more than she needed to know. One of those things was learning that her sister, Ruo Xing, was actually involved with that cheating man at one time also. She thought that her sister was running out of inspiration to write a novel (aka suffering from massive writer’s block) so she agreed to spy on them for her sister to strike further details and/or realistic elements so her sister could incorporate those into the fiction even more. Yet she had no idea her sister was aiming for revenge at the same time. She later found out the real reason for her sister’s revenge and being partially responsible for her sister’s misery, she let it go, thinking it was just spying and somewhat of sabotage. But it soon turned out that her sister had unleashed a chain of events also–regardless of consequences. The wife of the cheating man also left her some clues as of to how her sister had done all of that. Torn about what to do, she left her sister’s apartment after a traumatizing confrontation–with the last words of persuasion in hoping that her sister would let go of it all.
What I found the most fascinating about this movie wasn’t just those dramatic elements with cheating or jealousy. Those were some of the hardcore essential elements that could happen to anyone, but the message had taken to another level. I liked how it was being shot the whole time. It was representing the theme so well as it unraveled many more details later on. Like how we thought the cheating man’s wife wouldn’t know or didn’t know until Ruo Xing presented her with the evidence. Yet she knew. She knew all along but couldn’t really do anything or was in fear that her family was going to break apart with the confrontation. In fact, the clever bit was ending it so that it returned to the first scene of the movie and then showing us the details of everyone’s lives moving in a usual fashion YET it zoomed toward the wife high above watching them all. It was like she was the one already having all the pieces of the puzzle from the start. What made her end it all by taking such actions was that her bridge of control had already endured enough. Something had to give out.
I loved the music in here also. There was this haunting feeling within. The hollowness couldn’t really be described. It could be mistaken for anti-dramatic or whatever, but I thought it was perfect for the scenes. The confusion, the fear, the discoveries, and many more scenes that were morphed into the pictures. It really fitted its theme. Without the music and the interesting arrangements of the shot, it wouldn’t be any different from other controversial movies.
Acting? I thought those who thought Janine couldn’t act should have their eyes checked. Seriously, I’m sorry to be that mean or offensive, but I had it with the attacks on her. The depth she possessed in her acting was just fascinating. It could also be the effective directing (aka how the director had given her some tips also as seen in some parts of the BTS). Yet she had to have the potential to take it up to the right touches, making it more convincing with her role. At first, she was seen as very innocent and somewhat childish–or more like carefree in her own right, despite her age. When the events had escalated to the point that she had decided to leave and withdraw herself from the whole scene, she had shown drastic changes along with it–how shocking it was to learn it all and how her world was coming apart. There was too much to analyze and what she did had affected others around her and what she had aided in the efforts of leading to such events. James Wen was also a great choice though having to portray such a despicable character. Though it was obvious we would hate him regardless since it was his role yet I felt it took some convincing to see how he was not committed to his family, considering how he had such a warm, caring family. There was always a reason given in other dramas to tell us that he or she (the cheater) was driven to be that way or how there were excuses with blaming it on the wife/husband, etc. But this time, the plot had told us that he was just that type of person regardless of how his life was changing or not so changing (aka the stability of it all). It wasn’t about what he wanted in life or he had chosen wrong hence wanting to rebel by going against what was right but it was because he was like that, wanting to satisfy a certain crave and would always switch partners because he was never, ever satisfied with anything. He was always tempted to have a double life. There was also the actress who portrayed Janine’s sister. She made us feel quite frightened what she could do because of the betrayal yet there was also the whole feeling sorry for her that we couldn’t scratch her off completely as an evil person. She was part of the victims too. In fact, I thought the cast did quite well with convincing us. Not everything was said, but the pieces of the puzzle coming together to make the story complete were what was most fascinating. Great directing, of course, and interesting approach. Plus there was the whole production team putting together all their efforts to make it work.
Recommended or not? Your choice really. I thought it was an interesting approach. Yet if you dislike the cast for whatever reason, don’t watch. Or perhaps you were looking forward to it but had not noticed how intense the scenes would be, don’t watch either. It’s not part of pop culture. In fact, if anyone wanted to watch James Wen cheating again but more over-hyped, go ahead and check out The Fierce Wife and that would be more of the pop culture than this one.