Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)
The discovery of this movie came from “IndieWire’s Favorite Asian Films of 2016” and since I have become a bit bored, if not sick of, run of the mill American movies, I decided to spread my wings. Unfortunately, this one reminded me that while non-US cinema maybe more daring, if not simply willing to pursue different avenues of storytelling, it doesn’t mean it will knock your socks off.
Ham Chun-soo (Jae-Yeong Jeong) | Hee-Jung (Min-hee Kim)
Characters & Storyline
Ham Chun-soo is a man of a certain age, not a senior citizen but not young. Been married since his 20s but is now alone in Suwon, his wife back in Seoul, and he comes across Hee-Jung. She is young, beautiful, and with him being a famous director, a potential womanizer as well, she allows him to be in her company. With that he tries to woo her and while the first time fails, so comes if the second time he may end up with a mistress.
On The Fence
I Had Hopes & It Seemed Like It Could Have Been Interesting
Let’s start off that this movie is 2 hours. As noted countless times, most movies probably would be fine with 70 minutes, very few make 90 minutes worth it, so two hours to me means that between the screenwriter, director, and/or the editor, someone’s ego couldn’t be tamed. With that said, Fences is over 2 hours and I loved that, 20th Century Women is a little shy of 2 hours and I loved that, and Blue is The Warmest Color is three hours and while there is no way in hell I would sit at home and watch a three hour movie, I did like that movie. So what happened?
Well, the whole movie ends pretty much around the hour mark and then it starts over. At first, I was confused, thinking I was experiencing a technical issue. Low and behold, what happens is the movie plays all over again, but is edited so that Ham Chun-soo isn’t exposed for being married and a few other things were changed.
This, to me, seemed so weird and stupid. Now, if this was done like An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, where it added layers to the characters after restarting, or something similar, I could perhaps get behind the movie. However, with the movie just basically rewinding so Ham Chun-soo could have a favorable outcome with Hee-Jung, I was disappointed. If only because it seemed like a few scenes were changed and the rest were sliced in from the first hour you watched. So congrats to the editor for making it seamless, but it didn’t make for the best story this odd choice.
Overall: Negative (Skip It)
While not a horrible movie at all, you may feel like you saw two different cuts of the same movie back to back. One is the cut the director wanted and then following that is the one which tested well with audiences or vice versa. With that, you get one hour of a run of the mill movie which isn’t noteworthy and is barely worth renting. But then it repeats and tries to make Hee-Jung seem more interested in Ham, have him be more open about having a wife and leaves you unable to get into their romance because he has a wife. Much less, both of them are dull as bricks, as are their associates, so believe me when I say that, despite this being on some major indie website’s list, leave it alone.