Two Korean Films

 Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

This was a film I very much wanted to like, having enjoyed both Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, the other two films in Park Chan-Wook’s ‘trilogy’. And there is a lot to like about it: extremely stylish cinematography, good acting and an interesting script. But even with all that, the film somehow fell short. Fellini talked about ending films with a little spark of light—something Chan-Wook did in the other two films mentioned. Here however there is not even a glimmer.

200 Pounds Beauty

A Korean box office hit complete with ungrammatical English title, so I figured I would give it a go. This is probably the most ‘Hollywood’ foreign film I have ever seen—as formulaic as anything being done in America. It is about cosmetic surgery. I chucked a few times. Not bad. Recommended if you are a fan of films like Miss Detective. Otherwise give it a miss.  

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4 Responses to Two Korean Films

  1. ballingrud says:

    I loved Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance. I didn’t mind the downer ending. However, my favorite scene in the movie comes the protagonist is visited by the ghost of his murdered child. He picks her up and hugs her tightly, and her little legs wrap around him. Oh man, it made me cry. And the next morning he sees the puddle of water, which lets us know that she really did visit him. Just heartbreakingly beautiful.

  2. brendanconnell says:

    There is no doubt that it is a powerful movie, it just seemed like a bit of a let-down when compared to the other two films. It could always depend on the mood one is in when one sees the film too, as it is not like I only go for films with happy endings.

    The father character that you mention though, I actually didn’t feel very drawn to. Maybe because he was the rich factory owner who had exploited his workers? I was much more interested in the fellow with green hair.

  3. That’s what I liked about him, though. He was set-up to be a two dimensional jerk, and it turns out he was a nice guy who loved his daughter. And who exploited his workers. And I thought the guy with the green hair, though initially motivated by a noble goal, descended quickly into selfishness and barbarism. I loved it. I’m all about the contradictions!

    I take your point, though. If I’m not mistaken, this was the first of the trilogy to get made, so maybe he just became a better storyteller. The other two are radiant. I love these movies.

  4. brendanconnell says:

    Yeah, I think it was the first to be made also…

    My take on the father was more like: This guy is a jerk, but you can connect with him on his love for his daughter.

    In other words, that his love for his daughter didn’t make him likeable, but made it so we could relate to him.

    This film, psychologically, does seem to be less cut and dry than the other two, since their are essentially two ‘Mr. Vengeances’. Maybe the English title is even someone misleading.

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