Friday, October 20, 2006

Diary (Mon Seung)

Never Mess With Angry Chicks

Diary is the new offering from the Pang Brothers, starring Charlene Choi, Shawn Yue and Isabella Leong. It's a psychological thriller, which is a departure from their usual horror films, but I thought that given it's their first attempt at this genre, then director Oxide Pang probably couldn't be faulted for wanting to explain everything, instead of letting audiences figure out stuff for themselves.

In my opinion, despite some hit moments like the soundtrack and the initial premise in Diary, it's filled with more misses instead. With the need to explain and reveal, the lazier narrative method was employed, and that is to repeat scenes with different interpretations. This in itself may seem ok, but repeating it more than twice does get tiring. With that, it suggested that the idea is extremely simple, and through repetition, it's actually stretching what possibly is a short film idea, into a feature length one without any addition in depth of character or plot points. There are also some out of the place scenes and plot devices, which unfortunately, brought on more laughs rather than the intended effect to mystify and baffle audiences.

Without a doubt, this movie belongs to Charlene Choi in her own departure from those cute and pretty young thing roles handed to her. But I thought Isabella was the more attractive babe in this flick. Really beautiful, and I'm tempted to pop in my Isabella DVD right now to check out her breakthrough performance, some say.

To read my alternate review of the movie, you can click at the movieXclusive logo below:

And for obvious reasons, spoiler thoughts are only contained below, read on if you don't mind what's in the movie that's still bugging me:


The movie borrowed heavily plot ideas from Memento - with the diary and varied interpretations of entries, from Audition for its kidnap-torture scenes, and more importantly, Fight Club for its Tyler Durden moments.

And that I thought was most important, what worked for Fight Club obviously didn't work for Diary. It worked for the former because it made sense. But adapting it and twisting it so that it wouldn't be an exact copy, is just plain wrong. Imagine how illogical Fight Club would be, if instead of Edward Norton's Narrator being Tyler Durden, the situation is reversed, ceteris paribus - all other things being equal.

I feel that it's always wrong to mislead the audience on to believing something, then pull the rug from underneath the feet not with something that can be logically explained, but with something quite illogical. We're not talking about spirits here, as obviously anything goes for that, but with psychological mystery thrillers, some form of logical explanation has to follow.

It's trying too hard to come out with the twist, but this part of the Prestige just lacks finesse and fair play, akin to a character waking up from a dream just as the show is about to end, telling you that everything that has transpired was just imaginary, but worse, revealing to you that he/she is actually somebody else. It just stinks of desperation in trying to be different and acting too smart.


However, for fans of Charlene Choi, this is one movie you might not want to miss in order to see your favourite idol in a different light. And for fans of the Pang Brothers to watch yet another of their offering.

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