Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hope (Sowon)

It's been so long since I got my Korean movie fix. Over a freaking year. I suppose part of that is because I just haven't been blogging, but another part is I gave up Netflix for close to a year.

I decided to pick it back up recently because I did miss it quite a bit. It was nice to see the Korean drama Iris (not the crappy movie version) on Netflix and I watched the first episode again. I enjoyed it, but not quite as much as the first time. Still, good memories. 

The episode did make me think about all of the cool Korean flicks I used to watch often.

I am not sure why I chose this movie in particular. I think the five star rating on Netflix helped, but it was mostly just a random "Hey, fuck it, this might be good so I'll watch it" sort of decision. Like, you know, pretty much all my other decisions are. The movie seemed like a bit of a family movie based on the thumbnail/poster, but the description sort or... well, scared me a bit.

This was the description:

After 8-year-old So-won narrowly survives a brutal sexual assault, her family labors to help her heal while coping with their own rage and grief.
Needless to say this subject matter is not for everyone. I did not even know whether I should give it a try, but I had faith that this film would not be tasteless. My Korean movie choices have yet to let me down for the most part and I was sure that this movie would not, either. 

Everyone's tastes vary and I am sure that many people would not find any merit in this movie simply because it's subject matter is very difficult.

It's hard to watch without a good share of rage-induced cussing.

But I found myself rewarded greatly by this movie by the end.

I won't really comment on the need to make movies from controversial subject matter because I'm not going into that. I applaud the makers of films like this and Silenced because I view them as the artistic awareness pieces that they are. Other folks may view this as an attempt to make some sort of exploitation attempt, but I don't see it. I've seen many exploitation films and this isn't among them.

This film is equal parts horrifying and beautiful. The idea that the cute young girl in this film is going to have her life torn apart is brutal. Thankfully, the "scene" happened off screen. We were shown enough to get an idea that something terrible happened and then we were told the rest through the conversations of other characters. Anything more would have been too overbearing and would have broken this film's watchability.

Our cast is pretty effective if not outstanding. Our male lead, Sowon's father, is a hard character to like at first and after the assault it is tough to know where his character is going to go. This could be his redemption to the wife and daughter he has neglected or it could be his damnation.

I suppose it might be spoiling things a bit, but his redemption is something this movie needs to survive and so it obviously gives it to us. His attempts to cheer up his daughter by dressing up as her favorite character are sweet. Although it is kind of fucked up that it took his daughter being raped and nearly dying to make him a somewhat decent human being again and I don't know how to feel about that. But then the story would have been a mess since it is really all about the father's attempts to heal his daughter.

So... I dunno, I guess it works because the plot makes it work. It's almost like being emotionally conned into liking him in the end. Or maybe it is just good filmmaking. It's hard to be critical of this film or down on it since it is just so damned charming. I'll just say it's good filmmaking and be done with it.

It felt strange to feel all warm and fuzzy at this movie's conclusion. Mostly because I didn't expect it. Although I guess I should have since it shows us everyone all happy go lucky in the movie's poster. Still, I know movie posters lie all the time so I didn't trust it. But now I see the poster in a completely different light.

You'll know what I mean if you've seen the film yourself, I think.

Anyway, that pretty much concludes my first review in ages. Hope ya'll had fun.

P.S. - I did recognize a member of the cast and at first I could not place him, but I knew I had seen him before. After a Google search I discovered that the dickhead father's boss was the trusty sidekick in City Hunter. So that is a neat little sidenote.

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