2 November 2016 | samuelding85
When Puccini Meets the Killer and Monty Hall's Probability.
Based on the novel 'The Killer Is Still Awake' written by script writer Erica Lee, Hong Kong acclaimed director Herman Yau works together with Lee (who co-wrote the script) for the fourth time, hoping to give something new to the audience.
Primary school mathematics teacher Brian (Andy Hui) befriends the founder of Beloved Dogs, Jasmine (Janice Man) when she looks after Brian's pet dog. Working as a volunteer with Beloved Dogs, a non-profit organization which takes care of unwanted dogs, Brian and Jasmine soon falls in love. However, Jasmine unwilling accepts the proposal from a rich businessman, Vincent (Gordon Lam), under her parent's pressure. A week before the wedding, Jasmine seeks to patch up with a heartbroken Brian, but to no avail. Shortly after that, Jasmine was kidnapped by a mysterious man who strips her naked and tied her up on the bed, playing the song 'Nessun Dorma' from Puccini's Turandot. Things take a drastic turn when Jasmine escapes from the kidnapper, and Vincent found out about the kidnap and abuses her, ending with the kidnapper telling Jasmine that Vincent is the real target behind the kidnap.
This review is based on the 88 minutes version released for commercial purpose, instead of the original director's cut which premiered in Hong Kong during March this year. While the plot seems promising and packed with solid details, it has somehow failed to get audience's attention. The first 10 minutes explains the relationship between Brian, Jasmine and Vincent and their individual characteristics. This helps the audience to easily absorb the first half of the movie, where Jasmine were kidnapped and violated, intersected with a deeper background on the three characters.
Yau and Lee seems to focuses on Monty Hall's Probability Theory to tell the story, hence we can see the theory was used. To begin with, Brian explains the theory to Jasmine through a game in a classroom. This is followed by Jasmine making a dream, where she opens of the three red doors and see herself becoming a victim of Vincent. Lastly, when Jasmine argues with Brian that he can't apply the theory to explain some unanswered questions in life, the theory was used to answer the ending for Brian, Jasmine and Vincent. This has somehow made the story and the ending predictable, though some twists were made in the ending to change the overall perception of the movie.
Janice Man's performance as Jasmine is the main highlight of Nessun Dorma. Being the victim of the kidnap, she sees herself as Princess Turandot, which it explains her relationship with Brian. From a lovable and jovial individual, her world began to change after the kidnap, which Man has did a excellent job in the changes of Jasmine's character and emotion. While Gordon Lam did not disappoint the audience as Vincent, a rich businessman into shady business turned wife abuser, Andy Hui's Brian failed to impress the audience. Compared to Lam who got a lesser screen time which leaves the audience with deeper impression on his various emotional changes, Hui's expression were rather bored and seemed indifferent most of the time.
Overall, Nessum Dorma is a popcorn movie which doesn't require one to use Monty Hall Probability to think through, since it has been explained and applied in the movie. While fans of Janice Man will like the breakthrough she had in this film, this is one of the weakest film from Herman Yau, compared to his recent titles.