March 19, 2012

Also, Did We Really Need The Scene Of The Four Unrelated Guys In An Apartment Masturbating Together?

I watched this movie with Aesa last night. It was some famous Korean film. I do not know the title. It will probably show up in the next sentence well after I have written this review thing. Something like Mr. Vengeance? (Aesa says the correct title is Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. So.) Anyway, it was a really fucked up movie, and not in the “oh, that is a fucked up movie” kind of way. Like… I just really didn’t understand what it was trying to do.

This film set up literally every single character in it for failure. Every single one. Nobody who was a character was in any way alive by the end of the film. It was all just sort of “last person is dead, so roll credits, we’re done.” It was almost like a snuff film or something. “How miserable can we make these people before they die? You’ll want to see that, right?” That’s supposed to be the point? Watching all this stuff is supposed to have a point, right? There’s got to be some sort of artistic vision going on here, right? But I just have a hard time figuring out what it could possibly be.

One of the first things I would try to teach somebody about writing a story is that you have to have somebody who you can root for: somebody that you want to succeed. You can want them to succeed in spite of what that actually means: you can associate with terrible people, and often that creates some pretty compelling narratives. But in general, to get someone engaged, you have to let them relate to somebody in the story.

I could not relate to basically anyone in this story.

The “main character” with the green hair seemed like a guy I should relate to, but if I’m being completely honest, his disabilities made that tough. His character was not much deeper than just those flaws, to me. I could never really see what made him tick. The movie sort of went out of its way to make him seem dragged along by circumstance, instead of his own decisions. Even the big decision he makes, kidnapping the girl, was really more him just agreeing with his girlfriend more than anything. The girlfriend was a plot-forwarding device for most of the movie, as was the sister. Neither of them felt really developed. The little girl felt like more of a character in a lot of ways, but she didn’t really seem to desire anything. She was just kind of there. The father figure is probably the one that’s easiest to potentially connect with, but I still had trouble because it just felt like he jumped to murder so quickly. There was never a doubt in his mind that he was going to throw his company, everything he worked for, away and do some killing the moment he found his daughter dead. It makes it hard to sympathize with him. It’s not like he didn’t potentially have other venues to deal with this. He found all this info. He could have went to his police contacts with it. But then everyone wouldn’t have died, I guess.

Even in a story where everything is terrible and nobody gets what they want, though, normally SOMEBODY gets what they want, just not anyone who we as an audience gives a shit about. A corporation, the guy who’s kind of an asshole… someone triumphs. Literally nobody triumphs in this story. Nobody in it comes out better than they were before. Everything in this film is downhill.

I just don’t understand what I as a viewer was supposed to take away from this movie. I mean, make depressing stuff, sure. And maybe if I had a knowledge of Korean film-making this would fit into a mold that would make more sense. But it just seemed like someone set up dominoes to fall down perfectly until they were all gone. It didn’t feel like real life. I didn’t feel like I could learn a lesson from it. I was just flummoxed.

That was a thing I watched! Uh, yeah. So. Next time we’re watching a comedy. Heh.

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