Photo courtesy of www.blogs.nailsmag.com
By NGUYEN KHOA THAI-ANH
Two years ago, I saw the film “Touch,” which has stayed with me since. For those who didn’t see it, there is another opportunity.
“Touch” is the second (the first being “Norwegian Woods” by Trần Anh Hùng) great and serious Vietnamese cinéma vérité by an overseasVietnamese filmmaker that attempts to grapple with the psychological study and affective side of human relationship and development.
Though I’d find it unlikely that an exclusively English-speaking person such as (Tâm) Porter Lynn would look for a job in a Vietnamese-speaking nail salon, overall the acting is good, particulary by Lynn and John Ruby, who plays Brendan. In terms of real-life happenings, it is a bold, albeit overdue treatment of interracial relationship. “Touch” does a good job in building up the momentum for the two kindred spirits, simmering at first then electrifying into sexually charged scenes.
Though, “Touch” realistically deals with the chance meeting between the protagonist and his/her heroine (or vice versa), in the end, the great protagonist left his heroine to become his own antagonist, and his own worst enemy.
Viewers could shudder at two improbabilities: First, the very thought that Brendan deservedly has found his soul mate, Tâm, just so he can go awol at the last anti-climatic minute, not by doing what is right and natural for love, but by the implausible self-constraint and boring spousal calling, reenergized by his lessons of love, taught by Tâm. Then, Brendan’s wife, Sandie’s (Melinda Bennett) change of heart somehow seems miraculously forced, given her lack of respect and loathing of Brendan lowly ‘grease monkey’ status. In this sense, he has not learned of love to save himself from self destruction, and the build up to his wife’s conversion seems unconvincing.
On the home front, the love-hate and filial-piety relationship between Tâm and her father – is revealed to the viewers toward the end as to why it has become difficult and trying: father is gnawing by a guilt-ridden conscience that he has caused the death of his loving wife. Though understandable, it’s slightly off course when it comes to his treatment of our insufferable heroine-daughter Tâm, and her clinging affection for her mom in childhood. While this may explain Tâm disposition toward reticence in adulthood, it did not do justice nor explain the father’s cruelty toward his daughter.
The dénouement does not seem pyschologically fit, particularly when Tâm falls back to her second-string nerdy man Kỳ (Tony LaThành), but for the sake of keeping the Vietnamese tradition intact, Nguyễn Đức Minh, the director may have gained for himself an auspicious stature, and his film debut some social values and poetic expression to the seventh art.
See link for more information: http://www.touchthemovie.com/blog/