Monday, April 16, 2007

The Host

I went today and saw the Korean film "Gwoemul" (it's better known in the English speaking world as "The Host") and I have to say I had a really, really good time.

The filmmaking and special effects were top-notch, the acting seemed great and the humour translated really well to subtitles.

A few things about the film surprised me, though: First was that this film came out of Korea. I really just didn't expect something this polished to come out of a country who isn't exactly known for it's film culture. I mean, yeah there's been a few here and there, but I've never seen them. (Or maybe I have and I didn't know or maybe I'm just an idiot and someone will point out some glaring omission from my memory....) Anyhow, it's quality and polish were better than I expected.

The other thing that really surprised me was how well it struck a tone between serious monster movie and almost slap-stick comedy. The last film I saw that struck the balance so well was "Shaun of the Dead". I still think Shaun of the Dead is better, but this film was laugh out loud funny and downright scary as shit other times. And scary is really hard for me to take seriously at the movies. Generally it just comes off as cheesy, but when the film is in on the joke it really makes me tense up. And there were some other parts that got extremely emotional and almost had me crying.


Maybe I'm crazy. I don't know.

I also really liked how Americans were satirized as both cross-eyed morons and bastards, lobotomizing people for no better reason than to cover up a mistake they made and dumping toxic chemicals into the water for no better reason than the bottles they were in were dusty. It was really, really funny.

And did anybody else see any similarities in both looks and performance of Hie-bong Byeon, who played the Grandfather, and Takashi Shimura in pretty much any of his Kurosawa films?

Seriously, I can't be the only one who thought that.

Anyway, this film is pretty good (7 or 8 out of 10, easy) and worth seeing at the theatre.

Go see it.


If for no other reason than you should be supporting foreign films at the movies.

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