Director: Wayne Peng
Cast: Chuando Tan, Nanyeli, Chang Tzulei, Xiang Yun, Chen Yixin, Tay Ping Hui
Runtime: 1 hr 20 mins
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scenes and Some Violence)
Released By: mm2 Entertainment
Opening Day: 29 April 2021
Synopsis: A 30-something doctor (starring Chuando Tan) is caught in a web of deceit, sex, and lies. The murder drama, set in 1960's Singapore, revolves around the doctor making house calls to a mysterious and wealthy family.
If you have it, flaunt it. That’s exactly what this film seems to be all about. Helmed by Wayne Peng, who has received accolades for his slick commercials, this movie is a sight to behold. Every shot is mesmerising to a fault – carefully lensed, perfectly framed and oozing with lush. You feel like you are watching a commercial for a very expensive product, an ad on the big screen that runs for 80 minutes.
You can’t take your eyes off the screen because everything looks gorgeous. If you are looking for a house, you’d want to hunt down the residence the film is set in, just to feel the magnificence of the architecture. If you are an antique collector, you’d want to own every piece of prop showcased in the movie, from the traditional typewriter and the nostalgic radio, to the sewing machine that your mother used to mend your torn clothes. If you are into vintage cars, there is one on display which is ten times better looking than the hordes of vehicles on the busy expressway.
And there are the humans. Photographer and social media hottie Chuando Tan (most of us still can’t get over the fact that he is 55 years old and can still maintain a ripped physique and youthful looks) is a sight to behold in his feature film debut. The slow mo sequence of the hunk showering (with droplets of water dripping off his well toned body, no less) is totally uncalled for, but you know female fans would totally lap this up and wished the scene can go on forever.
Elsewhere, Taiwanese model Nanyeli, who is also making her first big screen appearance, gets to put on very pretty cheongsams and strut around from room to room, trying her best to outdo the equally attractive film set around her. Although fellow Taiwanese Chang Tzulei doesn’t get to don very pretty outfits, she gets to shoot dagger stares to send chills down your spine. Chen Yixin (Edmund Chen and Xiang Yun’s daughter) also has a meaty role in the film, where her innocent and naïve looks are put to good use.
Other moments in the movie that will have you going “ah…” include Xiang’s cameo appearance as a very fierce woman and Tay Ping Hui who shows up in shadows for most of his limited screen time.
Oh, we nearly forgot to mention the ants. There are a few extreme close up shots of ants crawling. We think they are supposed to symbolise something, but the first thing that came to mind was how exquisite these ants look.
The film was deservedly nominated in the Best Cinematography and Best Makeup & Costume categories at the 57th Golden Horse Awards (it lost to Your Name Engraved Within and Number 1 respectively). It is quite a feat for Peng’s team, considering the movie largely takes place within a mansion.
It seems like we have not mentioned much about the storyline. Well, there isn’t really much to talk about here because the plot is thin and all you need to know is that Tan plays a writer who is constantly typing (wearing a tight fitting singlet to show off his physique), and he is obsessed about the deaths of a doctor (also played by the hunk so that the film can have more of him) and a repressed woman (Nanyeli). In the supposed murder mystery are two maids (Chang and Chen), a fiery first wife (Xiang) and a brutal master (Tay).
You won’t care how the story unfolds or where it leads to, because you’d be too distracted by the striking visuals.
(With visuals that are perfect to a fault, you may just be able to ignore the fact that the story is badly told)
Review by John Li