“These flowers are the gateway to hell.” – Takeko
Starring: Rainie Yang, Isabella Leong
Webcam girl Jade (Rainie Yang) lives with her grandmother, and is a free spirit at heart. Takeko (Isabella Leong) is a foreigner whose family was shattered when her father was killed in an earthquake, and her younger brother recognizes no one except for the tattoo that his father always wore. In hopes of bringing his memory back, Takeko gets that same design tattooed on herself. When Jade enters the shop, she is entranced by the design of spider lilies on the wall, and begs for the same. Takeko refuses, but Jade leaves her business card anyway. Takeko sees them as flowers of death, but to Jade they are reminders of her first love. Will the two be able to understand each others’ hearts?
Thoughts: Despite my views on Rainie Yang, this movie was actually pretty good. It was my first lesbian film, and the way the story was told often had times where it used scenes of emotion to express things about the characters. As a result, there are a lot of scenes where memories are playing, or shots trained on the actor portraying emotion. There were times when it didn’t really make sense, but you were supposed to focus on the differing thoughts Jade and Takeko had about the tattoo and the sexual tension between them.
Acting: Isabella Leong was fantastic, as was Shen Jian-hung, who plays the amnesic younger brother. They conveyed so much with just a glance or a stare, and speaking with your eyes is something that takes skill in acting. I always look up to people that are able to convey emotions that way. Inner struggle was always present on Isabella’s face; I connected with her character a lot. Jade was harder to believe, but I blame that on Rainie Yang’s acting. In my mind, Jade just wanted to be loved, but Rainie was trying to put too much cutesy into it, when the story was meant to be serious.
Storytelling: I think it was pretty well done, but a lot was left out in favour of flashback or character focus. Because Isabella’s character is meant to be Japanese, the language features in her flashbacks. However, there were times where the flashback method made the movie seem slow, and because of this, meaning is lost.
Overall Rating: 3/5