Visible Secret Reviews
Poor start. A girl, 15 years ago, follows a man from a pier to a bus stop. He tells her she will see her parents again once he gets paid. The girl nods. Apparently this (being kidnapped) is ordinary. A man is moving rather forcibly through the waiting crowd. Then he's beheaded. The girl looks at the head beneath the bus. Apparently that (massive mutilation of a living human being) is ordinary too. She stares at it for seconds with no affect.
In the present we start in a rave. Minus points for that. Conversation in a rave. Sure, nothing but bellowing or screaming. June meets Peter, and uses Peter to get away from some other young man. They go here and there, and end up at his place. Peter looks like he needs a shower, a shampoo, and directions on using a comb. June could use a flamethrower to get all the layers of badly applied cosmetics crap off her face.
The lead characters seem repellant and useless. Peter asks her why she was in such a hurry to leave every place they went to.
Ah, the movie starts. Well, no it doesn't. It seemed she was about to speak some truth, but she did not.
June is a useless self-centered pest. She and Peter have at each other, then she leaves in the morning after emptying his wallet.
Peter's Dad shows up the next morning, claiming to be possessed by a ghost. They take him to the hospital. The children assemble and bond over bad times; they trade veiled insults. Nice. Peter's about to leave but his father needs more talking. Peter thinks he sees June as he leaves but perhaps not.
Peter gets fired from his job. He goes to a beach marshmallow roast with ghost stories. He meets June again on this trip. The reputed ghost shows up in the body of a friend of June's. Peter sees some ghost lore in June, and starts to wonder. The next day she confides that she can see ghosts with her left eye, and there is always one following Peter.
After that, they spend a lot of time together; Peter eventually gives her a ring he had hoped to give a previous girl friend who left him. Peter has trouble finding a new job.
Peter has a dream of his father visiting him at midnight; the next morning the hospital calls to tell him that his father hung himself. His relative tells him that June was with his dad, sharing a long stare, the night before he died. Sigh.
Peter tries to find out more about June, and encounters some strange experiences. Also, he digs up the newspaper story about the beheaded man, and sees a little girl there with the same distinctive birthmark as June. The description of the beheaded man ties up some threads for Peter.
Peter tries to get a job with good prospects. June tries to involve him in some ghostly business. He tells her to go. He wakes to find his apartment painted in red, and he tries to get clear of all this for his job interview. At his friend Simon's place, the red paint shows up again. After he talks with Simon, he tries to connect with June, but she's hard to find.
After resolving the problem that the headless man was obsessed with, he is released.
Peter and June visit his dad's grave. Then Peter is drawn to a woman at another grave site, which turns out to be June's. As opposed to the Sixth Sense, the ending was a huge let down.
Cinematography: 8/10 OK, even with challenging lighting situations.
Sound: 5/10 Both relentless and boring. I was ready to quit before the opening credits were over. One needs to be near the volume controls at all times to save your ears (too loud by far) or catch any words of the conversation.
Acting: 7/10 OK for the story. I liked the supporting cast, but the two leads were obnoxious.
Screenplay: 5/10 After 75 minutes, I wished I had never started this mess. When I was done, I had the same feeling. If June is a ghost, why did everyone see her? If Peter is the psychic, why can he only see June?
Tell me: is there a woman anywhere in Hong Kong whose left eye doesn't see ghosts? Because 'round the turn of the century, there seems to have been a small industry based on left-eye-spirit movies. The greatest of these is the comedy My Left Eye Sees Ghosts (how's that for an informative title?), but Youling Renjian, released in the west under the title Visible Secret, holds its own pretty well, despite the fact that you will have probably figured out the Big Reveal(TM) within the movie's first twenty minutes.
Plot: Peter (HK superstar Eason Chan) is kind of bummed out after losing his job as a hair stylist, so his best friend Wong-lin (Infernal Affairs' Anthony Chau-sang Wong), still employed of course, suggests they head out on the town for a night of drinking, dancing, and hooking up with beautiful strangers. Peter grudgingly accepts, and while they're out, meets June (The Transporter's Shu Qi), an intriguing young lass. The two of them get involved, and eventually June divulges her greatest secret to Peter: her left eye... yeah, yeah, you get it. She ropes Peter into trying to help her quell a rather nasty ghost who's been possessing people in the neighborhood. Commence comedy.
Yes, you'll figure out the big reveal quickly. (You may have figured it out just from reading that synopsis, in which case extra points for you.) But it doesn't actually matter, any more than does the Big Reveal in, say, Spring Bears Love, because by the time you get to the end of the movie, the other parts of it have been more than fulfilling enough that the resolution of that first pseudo-mystery is more of an icing-on-the-cake deal. Quite a satisfying one, true (and one that helps make sense of the first scene, parts of which I was confused about right up until then), but minor compared to the fun of the rest of the film. Sadly neglected on this side of the pond and well worth your time. *** 1/2
But there were so many random scenes that it was funny. Some parts were kind of creepy though :)