Directed by Patrick Kong
Drama / Romance
Sold as a romantic teenage film, Patrick Kong’s latest offering ‘A Secret Between Us’ cannot seem to make up its mind as to what it wants to be. The film varies from the simplistic teenage romance, to the edgy world of prostitution, and even throws in some comedy for effect too. Combining this confused direction with shallow characters and an all too cliché ending, ‘A Secret Between Us’ offers nothing new to audiences.
The story itself is pretty straightforward. It follows a typical boy-girl romance who met in their teens and meet again as adults, telling the story of their past in flashbacks. Ken (Edward Ma) and Bobo (Angel Chiang) are the protagonists, and it is their love story that Kong focuses on.
Unfortunately, their characters are not developed well throughout the majority of the storyline. Bobo retains a sense of naïve innocence, even when she decides to turn to prostitution in order to fund her mother’s health treatment, the gritty characters such as her pimp and later her violent clients seem more real than Bobo herself, who just continues along as the sweet girl trying her best. She does not change at all as a character despite such harrowing and life changing experiences that she goes through.
Ken is just as naïve as Bobo. Neither of them explores the impact of Bobo becoming a prostitute on their relationship and happily continue it until Ken suddenly grasps that Bobo sleeps with other men for money in a moment of realisation. Ma and Chiang both keep their characters as two dimensional, with overly simple performances and a genuinely unbelievable dynamic between them, with both of them being too glib about Bobo’s prostitution.
Patrick Kong makes a film that is too simple, too cliché and lacking in discussion of real issues. ‘A Secret Between Us’ would have worked well as a film about a teenage girl struggling to support her family, but the addition of the rather sappy romance (not helped at all by the horribly overdone airport reunion scene of the finale) undermines it and makes the film feel very flat and without direction. Overall it is a disappointing film that had good potential but opted for too much Hollywood romance over a solid storyline.
Review by Hannah Albone