The Last Wife by Victor Vu is one of those films that makes you feel like you are watching an adaptation of a half-baked novel, but one that’s been made better by Victor Vu’s vision. Everything in the movie points towards melodrama, but the heightened emotions are necessary to get the point across. Themes like love, corruption, and debauchery need this elevated delivery, and The Last Wife proves that it has the means to deliver the goods. The performances are pitch-perfect, and the pacing of the film is very calming, taking us back to the period the film is set in.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Linh, the third wife of Governor Duc Trong, had a miserable existence. She was almost reduced to the role of a concubine, but the governor needed another child out of her. She received floggings for minor mistakes, and the other two wives did not have any empathy for her. Linh had a lover before she married the governor, but her memory of the time had faded. She had a young kid named Nhi to take care of, but the real agony was that she couldn’t leave as the governor was so powerful that he could harm her family. The depressed woman’s life changed once she saw her lover in the village market.
How Did Nhan And Linh Meet Again?
Nhan had become a crab seller, and when he returned to the village, she had come to roam the market with Nhi. As fate would have it, they locked eyes and had a conversation. Nhan seemed a little cold, and it was understandable. He didn’t know the reality of Linh’s situation. From the outside, it looked like she lived a royal existence. But only Linh was aware of the tragedy of her situation. When Linh met Nhan again, she was reminded of the immense love they had shared before she got married. They were to be a couple, as the villagers knew they were childhood sweethearts, but alas, fate had other plans. But wait a minute; the love that was buried somewhere could be brought back to life, Linh thought. After all, it was only her anxieties that were limiting her. Love started to make her do some dangerous things. She started meeting Nhan again as if they had resumed their love story. The couple became naive and innocent in love, not knowing that their union would cause an upheaval of murderous proportions.
How Had The Governor Trapped Linh?
Nhan was cold in the beginning because he didn’t know how Linh had come to be trapped in her golden cage. It was not like she had been lured by the governor’s wealth and status. Linh’s father had been arrested by the governor’s men on false charges. Linh didn’t know whom to go to to report the governor’s activities, and that is why she had to cave into the governor’s offer to become his wife in exchange for her father’s freedom. Nhan now knew that the governor was a corrupt and evil man, but he had a clean image in front of the villagers. Now the only way to go against him was to ignore him and prepare a plan to elope. They needed money for that kind of endeavor, and crab money wasn’t going to cut it. Also, Linh could never leave Nhi behind.
How Were Linh And Nhan Caught?
Love was now back in Linh’s life, and she could bring herself to endure the abominable moments with the governor in the bedroom, where he continued on with his mechanical thrusting to produce another child. The first wife was always against Linh, and she ensured that she was flogged by the governor, even for mistakes that she had not committed. The first wife knew how to rile him up and then direct it towards Linh. If not for the second wife, who stopped him from beating Linh, she would have died long ago. Nhan grew courageous in love. Seeing her wounds, he wanted to kill the governor, but sticking to the plan meant that Linh would get the money and they would elope. When Nhan showed up at the governor’s mansion, Linh gave him the key to the safe, and Nhan stole some money and waited for Linh to get some more later.
The governor’s bookkeeper, Thien, did his arithmetic to find that there was some money missing and suspected that someone close to the governor might be stealing from him. His trick to catch the thief got a village drunk killed at the hands of the governor. Linh had heard the drunk named Dung talk about the stolen amount and had come to fight anyone who believed he was a thief. Linh was terrified after seeing the murder and had to tell Nhan about it, unaware that Thien was on to her. He followed Linh and saw her meet Nhan. Unfortunately for Thien, he was caught as Nhan was a village boy, much faster than the royal folks! Thien tried to save his life by telling the couple about the Red Book, which had proof of the governor’s corrupt trade practices. He was trying to gain their trust, so they let him go, but once he tried to attack Linh, Nhan had to kill him. Nhan had now murdered someone for Linh, and they couldn’t roll back on their plans.
Why Did Kien Not Arrest Linh?
Kien arrived from the judge’s quarters to investigate Thien’s disappearance. Mung, the maid, had seen Nhan meet Linh in the governor’s mansion, and he figured that they must have something to do with the case. Linh met with Nhan and told him that Kien, a mediator (a policeman), had arrived and could inspect his place for the body. Linh was a little slow to move the corpse from his backyard and was caught by Kien. The governor was livid, and Linh’s days were numbered. But there was one thing: Kien noticed that Nhan was not ready to admit that Linh was his accomplice, even after the fact that he would most probably be given the death penalty. Kien could only surmise that he truly loved Linh, and as Kien was a good man as well as a sharp one, he understood why a young girl like Linh was living with a fat and angry old man like Duc Trong. Kien warned the governor that he was willing to overlook the fact that he had used a fake case to trap Linh, implying Duc couldn’t do away with her.
How Did Nhan Bring About The Governor’s Downfall?
The first wife tried to end Linh once and for all, but ended up catching fire herself. She had seen Linh trying to steal the Red Book and couldn’t afford to let that happen. The governor had Kien’s orders to worry about, in the absence of which he would have killed her. The first wife’s father was a powerful minister, and Linh claimed that Duc would have to convince him that the first wife died in a tragic accident. Her plan was to distract Duc and bribe the guards to escape with Nhan.
The best thing Linh had done was to get the Red Book to her parents. The governor was on the back foot, and she bribed the guards to escape with Nhan. She had been wounded by the First Wife and did not survive, but Nhan gave the Red Book to Kien. The book had enough proof to account for the money he had been stealing from the people. Kien arrived with the judge’s orders to make him step down from the post and be taken to prison. The governor’s image was tarnished forever as he was made to march into the village as a prisoner. So in a way, Linh played her part in bringing him down. She couldn’t survive growing old with Nhan, but she had blessed him with Nhi, who stayed with Nhan, and he was glad that he could raise her as his own daughter, honoring Linh’s memories.