Korean movies are just top notch in terms of cinematical technicalities. The cinematography is unparalleled, the colors seem to be splashed straight from a palette chosen by Monet or Rembrandt, and the soundtrack breathes life into even the most dead of plots. All of it combined with a compelling romantic-drama plot like Daisy, can be best termed as an amplification of cinematic excellence to the fullest extent. When the director of the Infernal Affairs,Andy Lau teams up with three of Korea’s finest actors, the result has to exceed all expectations, and Daisy does it, and how so.
SYNOPSIS: Daisy[ Korean name: Dei-Ji(2006)] stars my favorite Korean actress Jun Ji Hyun [now known as Gianna Jun] as a young artist Hye Young, living in Amsterdam. She assists her grandfather in running his antique shop, and works in the public square,drawing portraits. She starts receiving pots of Daisy from a secret admirer who she believes is the man who built a bridge for her [Its exactly how it sounds]. And then, one day she meets Interpol agent Jeong Woo [Sung-Jae Lee] who is actually tracking Asian drug dealers. Hye confuses her for the mystery man who sends her the daisies. While all this is happening, Hye Young’s real secret admirer,Park Yi [Woo Sung Jung] has a keen eye on her.
He follows every step of her, and even shows a hint of envy when he sees Hye Young enjoying Jeong Woo’s company. And then, in an encounter involving the drug dealers and Jeong Woo in the public square, Hye is severely injured thus, losing her voice. Jeong Woo has to leave the country and go back to Korea. And then, Park shows up to take care of the broken-hearted Hye. What Hye does not know is her secret admirer and the one who sends her the daisies is actually an assassin. Will Hye find out who her real admirer is? Will Jeong Woo return to Hye and confess the truth? Will Park get rid of his dirty past and will there be a happy ending? To find the answers, watch Daisy.
And why should you watch this movie?
a) The Golden thing that is silence.
Daisy is just painted in leisure with all possible hues collected in a sombre pace. The speed although here does not make you cringe, rather makes you sink into the situation. The caress of wind on the petals of the daisy, or the reflection of sun on Hye’s eyes, the heavy showers washing the glass windows and the gurgling of water in the streams – all of this intermittently broken by the narration.
b) The Lady – Jun Ji Hyun.
Although I adore and still am a die-hard fan of JJH’s outspoken, extremely OTT role in My Sassy Girl[who isn’t!], JJH performance in this role stands at extreme opposite ends from her work in My Sassy Girl. She speaks through her eyes, expresses her angst and frustration in her actions. She made me believe in her quest for her secret admirer. Her eyes gleaming with romance when she receives her ‘FROWERS’, makes me squirm. And well, who wouldn’t want to just stare at her, while she sketches a portrait of you?
c) Amsterdam, Ambiance, Audio.
If you loved ‘In Bruges’, this would make you fall in love with Amsterdam. The architecture, the streets, the public square, the countryside, the flowers…aaaah! Add to that, the interiors of an antique shop, or a well designed modern day European apartment, the dim-lit indoors of a restaurant, or even the dark alleys, all of these have a character of their own to add to the narrative. Lastly, the soundtrack is absolutely fabulous.
d)Andy Lau. Andy Lau. Andy Lau.
This is not just a South-Korean tragedy. Nor is this another hitman action movie. Daisy combines both of these, and not in a formula-driven cliched mixed-bag. It combines the action, thrill and edge-of-the-seat sequences of an action movie, and yet somehow combines all the drama and the precise amount of human emotional clashes that one expects from a romance-drama. Andy Lau satisfies each and every thread of desire I would have from his cinema.
To sum it up, what you would remember after this movie is the spellbinding cinematography of the movie, the mind numbing twists that this plot unfolds in layers, the absolutely impressive JJH and finally the soulful soundtrack. The non-linear narrative is best done in Asian cinema and this is no exception to that rule. It just enhances the storytelling, and when it comes to tragedy [minor spoiler], Koreans do it best. This for all Asian movie lovers, and for those special ones who loved My Sassy Girl, be prepared to be surprised to a very different JJH.
RATING: 8 on 10.
**SCREENSHOTS FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE**