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Daisy

1 rating: 4.0
Daisy is a 2006 Korean movie directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Andrew Lau of the "Infernal Affairs" trilogy

"Daisy" is a story about the inevitable showdown between a detective and a killer who fall in love with the same woman. In the story, Jeon plays a street artist who dreams of opening her own exhibition someday, while Jeong portrays a killer … see full wiki

Director: Wai-keung Lau
Genre: Drama
Release Date: March 9, 2006
1 review about Daisy

A Cop. A Criminal. A Flower.

  • Sep 19, 2010
Rating:
+4

Daisy is a surprising film. I didn't know what to expect when I started watching it, but the simplicity of the title drew me to the movie. That and it starred my favorite female Korean actress Gianna Jun (Ji-hyun Jun), who plays a girl named Hye-young. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the film was a love story written by Jae-young Kwak, my favorite Korean writer and director. As is Kwak's style, the film had a non-traditional romance. Hye-young is pined after by a professional assassin named Park Yi (played by Woo-sung Jung). When I discovered this complicated relationship, I knew I was going to enjoy this film. Who doesn't like a "bad boy" that wants to change his ways and become worthy of the woman he loves?

The characters are well-crafted as is the story. Anyone familiar with writer and director Jae-young Kwak would expect nothing short of perfection in his story-telling capabilities. Kwak has created some amazing pieces such as as My Mighty Princess, My Sassy Girl, Cyborg She, Windstruck (my favorite), and The Classic (I've reviewed all these titles minus The Classic, which I'm still drafting). Daisy offers many of Kwak's trademark scenes, such as intense rain/ weather conditions and an innocent romantic relationship, which is always refreshing in a sometimes sex-crazed media.

The object of everyone's affections is Hye-young, who is our "daisy." She is an innocent landscape artist who works in her father's antique shop while also painting portraits in the city square. She dreams of having her own art exhibit. Hye-young has a secret admirer-- a man that sends her daisies everyday. She pines after him because she truly believes he is her soul mate. There is a good reason her secret admirer remains a secret; he's a criminal. Park Yi loves Hye-young because she is hopeful, innocent, and beautiful. She is everything he wishes he could be. Because of his profession, though, he has to hide both himself and his love, although this doesn't prevent him from performing random acts of kindness. Yi believes that his distance is the only way to protect Hye-young from his cruel world. If this wasn't enough drama, the situation escalates when a third man is brought into the story making a love triangle, Jeong Woo (played by Sung-jae Lee). Since this is a film of contrasts, Woo plays the opposite of our "villain," an undercover Interpol detective and the local hero. With such an amazing cast of actors, it's no wonder this movie succeeds; after all, every great story is defined by the characters who portray it. 

What is truly fascinating about this piece is all the twists and turns that cause viewers to question everything they know about heroes and villains, good and bad, the truth versus a lie. Not only was I confused about who Hye-young was destined for, my own perception of love changed because of this compelling drama. I always value ideas and situations that are not easily defined by one extreme or another, so I appreciated this thought-provoking plot. The only reason I didn't rate the movie a perfect +5 was because there were still a few scenes that were awkward, confusing, or just too unrealistic, even for a melodrama. For example, Park Yi was too good of an assassin, best exposed during some of the high action scenes where he used his powers for good. However, some of these flaws could be an attribute of the version I watched (at the time I didn't know there were two cuts). I never did figure out which one I saw.

Daisy is a melodrama; some call it "an urban romantic melodrama." The action and romance take place in The Netherlands, specifically in Amsterdam, Haarlem, and Epen. The setting was perfect because there are many scenic shots with fields full of daisies. As one expected from the title of the film, daisies are featured prominently (as are black tulips). Amsterdam is perfect because of the contrasts it provides. There are lush meadows, green fields, blue skies, and white daises juxtaposed with the busy city squares, gothic and grey. In the countryside, love blossoms. In the city, loneliness abounds.

Emphasizing the significance of the setting are the slow motion camera techniques, used most often during the emotional scenes. It heightened the drama of the film during many of the city shots. Director Wai-keung Lau remembers his male viewers by also including some violent and fast-paced action scenes to raise the tension of the film. Overall, Daisy was wonderful and had a well-balanced production value despite the Pan-Asian team (which at worst could have made the film difficult to make); the cast, crew, director, and writer were from either Korea or Hong Kong while the production team was from Thailand. 

One important fact I didn't realize is that there are two versions of Daisy, an Asian cut and a director's international cut. From what I've researched, the director's cut is the better version because it includes twenty-five additional minutes. It also rearranges some of the scenes, so that the overall compilation makes more sense with the non-linear presentation that is hinted at with the Asian cut version. The non-linear timeline is really important for the film's reveal, and it's done in such a manner that it's still easy for the viewer to follow the narrative. This style works well with the different points of view that are expressed through the lead characters, Hye-young, Park Yi, and Jeong Woo. Because there are three narratives being told simultaneously, there are quite a few scenes that include voice overs (a necessary twist due to a surprise in the plot). Luckily, the voice overs are not contrived and do not distract from the film. In fact, they add an important depth to the film that works well with the non-traditional storytelling techniques. The beauty of the non-linear storytelling and the shifts in perspective is that it keeps the viewer in suspense as the film culminates to a single climatic event right before the surprise ending. Director Wai-keung Lau uses a split screen that showcases his characters' emotions during this event. It's an engaging moment in the narrative and is extremely well-crafted. These types of scenes are a testament to Lau's skills as a storyteller. He cleverly edits the film to highlight interesting and important reveals. 

The music in the film was also carefully selected to match the stylistic filming and landscapes. There is plenty of soothing classical music, which touches a viewer's soul during the most dramatic scenes. Contrasting some of these moments is the poignant use of silence during intense dramatic or action scenes. The strengths of the actors are revealed in their ability to convey deep emotions without any sound. One of my favorite scenes is when Hye-young opens the door to reveal Jeong Woo. There is no talking. They silently gaze at each other, and then, from behind, Park Yi looks around the corner to see who has arrived. This was an emotionally intense scene without any noise--well directed and acted.

I recommend this film to those who are looking for a non-traditional romance. It's got enough action, drama, and heart for all types of viewers. There are also quite a few twists in the film that I didn't see coming, which gives it the feel of being a mystery-suspense piece. My favorite part about the film was the surprise ending, which I won't spoil with this review. I did not suspect or predict any of the major surprises because I was too caught up in the relationships of the main characters. When I forget to guess/predict what will happen next, I tend to enjoy the film more. So, movies that cause me to forget that I'm watching a movie have always been my favorite. There is so much more I want to share about Daisy, especially even more poignant scenes then already mentioned, but I don't want to spoil it for any who have yet to experience this gem. Daisy is primarily a character-driven film, but it has a strong enough plot to rival many of Gianna Jun's other films/roles.
A cop. A criminal. A flower. A cop. A criminal. A flower.

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December 31, 2010
I admire your passion for writing a movie review. For me, movies are mostly for entertaining and killing boredom! Nonetheless, there are a lot that can be extracted from a movie (or movies). I simply haven't find the passion to analyse a movie in such details when it comes to reviews. I guess as I kept telling Scotman that I'm not that fond of writing! :-)
January 01, 2011
You're such a great write for someone who doesn't like writing LOL! I cannot imagine how great you would be if you liked writing LOL!
January 02, 2011
Oh wow, thank you! :D Although I don't think that day would ever come, hehe... about liking to write; not that much incentive ;-)
January 04, 2011
Hi Sharrie!

William inspired me to try something different and write film reviews. I had never meant to in the past. Now, I can't seem to get enough of them written, lol. My difficulty is that I watch too many too fast as compared to reading books.

And, I agree with William! You are a fantastic writer for someone who doesn't like writing. It's funny how talents work! :)
January 05, 2011
To tell you the truth, sometimes I've phrases whispered in my "ear" & "mind" so much so I had to type them down. At other times, simply nothing. It's not me, LOL... I don't fancy writing; I simply have lots to write. That's more like it ;-)
January 05, 2011
Wow, neat experience. Having lots to write is wonderful, Sharrie!
 
October 20, 2010
Thanks for the great review! I'll have to check this one out for my wife and I. She's Korean, since we met when I was living in Korea to study Hapkido. Great review, and thanks again!
October 20, 2010
Thanks so much for reading my review, Alain! I'm sure you and your wife will really enjoy it. I'm a big fan of the actress Gianna Jun, and I thought she did a commendable job here. Plus, I love the writer, who is also a director of some of my favorite Korean films, Jae-young Kwak. When you see it, leave me a comment on what you thought too!
 
September 27, 2010
Good review. A love story with action in it? Sounds interesting. I like how you described the different contrasts between good and evil and how this movie questions those things. Pretty neat. I just may have to watch this sometime. :-)
September 27, 2010
This is a pretty neat movie, Pard. You would really enjoy it because it has action, romance, and causes you to think. I love films like that!
 
September 21, 2010
Um, wow! Not only did you review another film, but it's an Asian film. Will must be in blissful disbelief. This does look good. Nice job. : )
September 27, 2010
(laughs) I know. All I've been doing is watching a lot of movies...so I'm a bit back-logged on reviews for them. I'm even slowing down on my reading. Bad me! :-P
September 27, 2010
So you get to sleep in and sit around watching movies? I want your job... only with higher pay and benefits.
September 27, 2010
No you don't.
September 27, 2010
Why not?
September 27, 2010
Private.

I did ask if you were online in another comment and never got a response. I prefer to chat rather than exchange messages if you have a bit of spare time.
September 27, 2010
I've been on and off. I'll be on for a bit now.
September 27, 2010
Ok, logging on for a bit, then. :)
 
September 19, 2010
Excellent review Adrianna, very detailed and well written. The music sounds like something to hear.
September 19, 2010
Thanks, Alex! The music is definitely worth listening to. Classical music was trademark of the assassin. :)
 
September 19, 2010
whoa. Such an amazing review and I am happy to be the first one to give it kudos. I've always liked this film and it seems from your decriptions that you saw the director's cut because the international theatrical cut was leaner and leans more towards action. Loved the way you described the cinematography and Korea has been highly regarded when it came to their camera work. The assassin here also plays the lead in A MOMENT TO REMEMBER (aka. Eraser in My head)--amazing acting though the plot was a little too routine. Hey check out MOTHER in netflix when you get the chance, it's just up your alley...I promise.
September 19, 2010
So glad you were the first to read it, William! I worked long into the night to finish this puppy, lol. I still have the review of "The Classic" to work on. I can't wait to finish that one. Then, I can edit this review to show that I've reviewed all of Kwak's pieces that I've seen thus far!

Yeah, I have a feeling that I saw the director's cute based on how I came away with the film.

Glad I'm doing the cinematography justice in my reviews. Sometimes I find it difficult to explain the shots that are most impressive to me.

I really liked the assassin in this film. He was quite an intriguing character/actor. I'll add the ones you recommended here to my queue. Not sure when I will get to them. I keep wanting to watch "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." ;)
 
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