Nina Wu 灼人秘密 (2019) - Taiwan / Myanmar / Malaysia
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Premiering at Cannes, Director Midi Z manages to create an atmospheric psychological thriller about the cost of ones’ rise to fame. Partly written based on her own personal story by writer and lead actress Wu Ke-Xi, the film is loosely inspired by the #metoo movement. There are many challenging scenes in the film as the we are witnessing a film within a film as the notion of reality and fiction is often blurred. This makes the film more stunning than it may well be as dreams and imagination are mixed together as an infernal of conflicting emotions are being expressed constantly from start to finish.
Wu Ke-Xu plays the struggling actress longing for a big break and it comes at a cost. Being asked to play a leading role that requires 3Ps and nude scenes, Wu struggles to keep her head straight. Wu is constantly in a fury of emotional trauma perhaps due to sexual abuse she experienced with the producer. Interestingly the side characters provides an excellent contrast to Wu’s character. Vivian Sung impresses as her on and off younger lover as Sung remains the only sane person in the relationship. Kimi Hsia makes appearances throughout the film as the main nemesis showing up in dreams and reality all mixed in a whirling pool of life happenings.
All in all, “Nina Wu” will likely reach a wider internationally art house audience and with its diverting premises and interesting direction, the film allows Wu to shines through her difficult scenes. Sexual abuse and trauma is especially real and the raw emotions are greatly expressed with plenty of details in strong red imagery and colour. There is something about the film that hooks you to the ending and it works well as an original genre film.
I rated it 7.5/10