Infernal Affairs
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Infernal Affairs
Hello, you've reached Raito's movie review blog. Most of what you'll find here is reviews of Chinese movies, because that's pretty much all I watch. :'D

November 2012
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Raito [userpic]

This was a really interesting movie.  Not the least because the descriptions and whatnot of it were very misleading.  There was also a certain amount of societal commentary in it, possibly a lot, depending on how you look at it.  The descriptions tell you it's about three friends, one a photographer, one a plastic surgeon and one a financial something or other.  However, the story mostly centers around the photographer played by Jang Hyuk who has apparently just been dumped.  The opening scene has him slicing off his own fingers to stop himself from grabbing his cellphone.  That turns out to be all in his imagination and sets the tone for the film to mess with realism, at least while the camera's on Jang.  Meanwhile, the plastic surgeon friend is introduced as someone with a womanizing problem, which later comes out as a sex addiction and his regret is eventually meted out in the form of anonymous threats and an STD fear.  The third friend doesn't get much focus, but you get the impression that he's in some kind of trouble with his firm and it eventually comes out that he's been having an affair with the plastic surgeon's wife besides.

But back to Jang's character.  He's dealing with depression over his recent breakup and spends a lot of time smoking weed and seeing things that aren't there, though he later tells a doctor that he would see things even if he wasn't high.  Throughout the film he occasionally has fantasies about killing himself and further fantasies about the news reporting how inept he is at carrying them out.  To be honest, Jang really carries this film because his portrayal of a creative type dealing with manic depression is completely convincing and relateable, assuming that you fit or have fit that description.  He even seems to believe the fake doctor when she spins him a tale of being an agent from the future.  Second, in acting terms is probably the plastic surgeon who comes across as someone who is just really confused and seems to have this childlike mentality of simply responding to his urges, unable to deal with problems and he has the same amount of dismay when he realizes the trouble it's got him into.  The funny thing is how in the closing half an hour or so of the film he becomes a far more sympathetic character than the cold financial guy who is running away from everyone and everything and taking the plastic surgeon's wife with him.  The wife, by the way, is also Jang's sister and he has known about their affair all along but can't bear losing either of them as friends and has kept it a secret.

spoil-lars )

Mood blahMood blah
Tags: drama, jang hyuk, korean, suspense
Raito [userpic]

A "sort of" sci-fi Korean film revolving around an alternate history plot.  I like that kind of thing, as well as Jang Dong-gun from The Promise, which is what prompted me to check it out.  The basic plot is that a pivotal assassination did not take place, thus making Japan a huge superpower with Korea still in its clutches.  So, in the future/present, a group of Korean rebels are attempting to get back and get the time back to rights.

Enter Jang's character, a police special forces kinda guy who happens to be Korean, but has a Japanese name.  His partner is actually Japanese.  They show up to stop a massacre at the Inoue Foundation at the start of the film.

Now, this could have been a good film.  However, it wallows in melodrama for most of its inflated 2 hour + running time.  Lots of slow motion shots of people getting shot and taking a long time to die and it gets pretty ridiculous.  It also has a not-so-subtle anti-Japanese rhetoric going on, as it essentially portrays them as soulless monsters where even the main guy's partner goes at one point:  "I've never thought of you as Korean", then later proceeds to do exactly that.

In spite of all the attempts to wring emotion out of you, like most films that do that, it falls pretty flat.  None of the characters are fleshed out and even the battle between the partners is never convincing or moves past thin caricature.

I haven't watched many Korean films, but I'm beginning to lose hope that there are good ones as the ones I have seen have this problem with excessive melodrama and thin plots.

Mood blahMood blah
Music 马天宇 – 天雨
Tags: korean, sci-fi
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