Sunday, April 23, 2006



If it's one thing you'll take away from this movie, it's gonna be the flowers. They feature so prominently and are used as plot devices, you'll become an expert in identifying with daisies and black tulips by the time the movie ends.

Set in Amsterdam, Daisy tells the frustrating love triangle story between 1 girl and the 2 men in her life. One a professional hitman eking out a living, the other an Interpol agent. Featuring a Pan-Asian cast (Korean, Hong Kong) and crew (director Andrew Lau from Hong Kong, writer from Korea, and a Thai post production team), I could imagine the headaches in coordination.

Park Yi (Jung Woo-sung) is a hitman who found a soft spot for painter Hye-young (played by the pretty Jeon Ji-hyun). It's love at first sight in the meadows of daisies, where her clumsiness caught his attention. However, being shy and ever mindful of the dangers of his professional career, he can only admire her from afar, do little (or perhaps big) things for her in an anonymous fashion, but the one that takes the cake is sending her potted daisies everyday without fail at 4:15pm. He becomes her guardian angel from afar, shielding her and keeping her safe from harm.

Hye-young is in love with this mysterious stranger. She is constantly waiting for him to appear, but I really wonder how difficult could that be given the almost punctual daisy delivery. Nonetheless, she's terribly moved, and touched by this sole act. However, as the stars would have it, interpol detective Jeong Woo (Lee Sung-jae) chances upon Hye-young at a town square during one of his undercover missions, and he too is captivated by her. In a similar fashion, because of his profession, he is doubtful if he should make the first move.

Which is where the audience would find it frustrating. The lady obviously would fall for the wrong guy (then again, it's the "good" guy), Park Yi being infuriated by Jeong Woo's pursuit, but yet still refuses to step out and identify himself, and Jeong Woo being the opportunist in grabbing the free anonymous identity unwittingly. It's almost as if you wanna give everyone a slap to wake them all up.

That aside, it is precisely this tension that keeps you intrigued. And it is wickedly fun to watch the two male leads finding it tough to fall in love without jeopardizing their careers, or their loved one. But fret not action fans, there are enough cat-and-mouse revelations and unsaid camaraderie in the mould of Infernal Affairs, as well as ample gunfights, although I felt the ending could have been scripted tighter.

What rocks is the clever editing. Telling the story in a non-linear timeline (no worries, it ain't that bad, you'll still be able to follow the narrative) from the points of view of all the leads, keeping you in suspense, and culminating in a three way split screen showcasing all their emotions in a single converging event, which I thought was extremely well-done.

It's a beautiful film in terms of landscapes of lush meadows and busy city squares, with plenty of classical music to sooth the soul. As with romance movies, all the leads are eye candy - the girls will have a field day with the two handsome male leads, while the guys have to make do with a somewhat pudgy-faced (argh! ok lah, at certain angles) Jeon Ji-hyun.

If you're into a romance movie with an equal balance in the action/tension department, then Daisy would be your choice. If you prefer a more conventional weepy, then the other Korean movie making its debut here at the same time, You are My Sunshine, would be your alternative. And yes, I totally dig the ending scene, which I thought only the Koreans do it best? Kinda reminded me of the JSA one.

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