Publicity Stills of "Perhaps Love"
Courtesy of Shaw

Genre: Drama/Romance
Director: Peter Chan
Starring: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Jacky Cheung, Zhou Xun, Ji Jin-Hee
RunTime: 1 hr 47 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 8 December 2005


A movie-within-a-movie, featuring a love triangle plot that parallel between several actors’ lives. Jealousy, hatred and passion ignited by memories of the past, collide and culminate through the intervention of a seasoned heavenly being, a modern Cupid, who shares their joy and sorrow

Movie Review:

There are many reasons to like this film. It stars well-known regional faces. It boasts of spectacularly-choreographed musical numbers. It tells a love story. Above all, the distributor has done a good job marketing the movie so there is no way you would not have heard about it.

However, there still lies one biggest concern when it comes to all movies alike: Does it touch you? Be assured, beneath all the beautiful packaging and strong promotional efforts, this is definitely one of the most affecting movies of 2005.

The story is introduced by a guardian angel that has the magical ability of putting “scenes” back into people's lives. He visits a Shanghai studio where a movie being shot. The male star is an old flame of the movie's female lead. The problem is that she denies ever knowing him. But flashbacks tell us otherwise.

To add drama to the plot, she is also the movie director’s protégé and love. Fearing a rebirth of his two stars' love affair, the director casts himself in one of the movie’s roles. Soon, real life and reel life are inextricably intertwined.

It has been nine years since director Peter Chan directed a full-length Mandarin movie. It was 1996 when he made the successful Comrades, Almost a Love Story starring Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai. Since then, he has been busy producing pan-Asian films. With a huge production budget for his latest effort, he shows us Asian movie-making at its finest.

First, the perfect casting of the characters gets thumbs up. Heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro stars as the endearing male lead who symbolizes remembrance. The camera lens loves him, and every angle only complements his moving performance as a man holding on to his memories. Representing forgetting is up-and-coming Mainland actress Zhou Xun, who plays the female lead. Playing her role with some innocence, her cold, heartless and piercing stare is still a heartbreaker.

The ideal choice to embody the pain and jealousy of the movie director is definitely “God of Songs” Jacky Cheung. Thankfully, this character does not fall into the trap of being a one-dimensional villain. With Cheung’s powerful and faultless voice, he effortlessly brings out the agony and hurt of his character. With a good sound system in the theatre, one will definitely be affected with his resonating vocals. Ji Jin-hee of Korean drama Jewel in the Palace fame rounds up the cast with his very pleasing performance as the guardian angel.

The strongest selling point of this movie is its musical genre. Unlike traditional Shaw Brothers or Cathay musicals, this one will remind audiences more of big-scale musicals like Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera and Moulin Rouge! Not that this is a bad thing though, because the director has successfully used this genre to tell the story.

With Bollywood choreographer Farah Khan in this production, the musical sequences are a joy to watch. Khan’s previous mainstream works include Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding (2001) and Vanity Fair (2004). Coupled with songs written by Leon Ko and Peter Kam, the emotions of bliss, love, betrayal, hate and loss are all effectively presented through the power of music.

The cinematography of the film is also nothing short of breathtaking. The lush Shanghai scenes by award winning Peter Pau are nicely contrasted with the cold snowy Beijing scenes by the critically-acclaimed Christopher Doyle.

With all these strong production values in place, the final and ultimate test of the movie is whether it manages affect audiences on a personal level. While enjoying the aesthetics and the music of the movie, do take a moment to think about the themes it is portraying. They are so real and stark, it will make you reflect on what love and memories are all about.

Purists may criticize the lack of resolution at the end of the film, but think about it, isn’t that what love, and on a larger scale, life, is perhaps all about?

Movie Rating:

(An affecting and beautifully-made film that will hopefully place Hong Kong cinema on the world map)

Review by John Li


DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004-2005, movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.