review by Neo

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A good Korean try at WKW themes ...
There is something about photos that makes relationships all the more special. Perhaps, photos provide memories that can easily be forgotten. It is human nature to forget and particularly the good memories and the happy times of a past relationship. Although sometimes, it is better to forget the past, it is sweet to remember some of the cuter and happier times that you spend with your ex-girlfriends. Photos are what provide that sort of magic. While without them, humanity tends to remember the bad moments rather than the sweet ones. Perhaps, it is just me, or perhaps I am just damn forgettable about what happened yesterday, let alone weeks or even years ago. In my personal experience, there are photos with all my ex-s except for one, and as contradicting and ironic as it seems, the one that I never took a photo with is fading fast from my memory and perhaps, it is a good thing. However, the new age – style Korean movie that plays like a Wong Kar Wai movie, only that it has more emotional connection with audience and is leaving a lasting impact within Neo’s mind.

The movie goes like this: Is marriage a good thing, or a bad thing? Either way you'll regret it. People said men get married out of desperation and women out of curiosity, but both will be disappointed... Based on Lee Man-Gyo's novel, which won 2000 "Today's Novelist Award," deals with honest truths and lies surrounding marriage where romance is threatened by reality and vice versa. Marriage antagonist Joon-Young (starring Gam Woo-Sung) meets open-minded girl, Yeon-Hee (Uhm Jung-Hwa) at a blind date. After several dates, though they show affection to each other, Yeon-Hee realizes that he is a romantic lover, but not a good life-long companion. When they are on the ways home, they cannot catch the last bus. Then Yeon-Hee suggests both to stay at a motel, having sex. Later on, Yeon-Hee decides to get married with a rich and stable man. Since Joon-Young and Yeon-Hee cannot tolerate for not seeing each other, Yeon-Hee proposes they can find a secret place, so they can meet whenever they can have time...

It is strange that recently I have seen a lot of movie that appeals to my senses and as manipulating as it may be – I knowingly fall for it, but this one does not manipulate but rather connects to the audience, through steer character development and provides a new explanation about new age relationships. As we live in the cynical age, people know – divorce rate are becoming a safer bet than winning in pokies machines with odds of 1:2. The movie tackles the issue in a playful manner, almost in a way that made adultery all the more honorable and all the more fun for us to root for. The issues due in this movie are shown in a light hearted manner, yet it is immensely deep and as contradicting as it seems, the movie is simple yet immensely complex.

The performances of the two leads are terrific and the chemistry displayed by the two is menacing to watch. Their presence together glue the audience to the screen and their appearances are so likable that they do not seems to be committing any sins – despite involving in adultery. Cheating is all part of the dating game, personally I have done before, not because I do not like my girlfriend, but perhaps it plainly and quite frankly human nature. While, I do not believe in cheating anymore, as I have move on from immaturity, the thrill from cheating is exactly the feeling that drives the two leads on and on. Perhaps it is human nature to lust after what they can not have or in these simple circumstances, two people believing that they can not married and as a result they committed the acts that they did. While cheating is stupid thing and is probably unacceptable due to social norms, it will forever exist as long as humanity exists. That’s not to say, everyone will be cheater, or quite frankly, I might never do it again – human nature is a damn complex thing.

Missed opportunities and the feeling of impossibility of love, is very much a Wong Kar Wai movie and this flick explores this issue as well as marriage. Why do marriage ends? Why do relationship ends? Why do human enjoy the though of lust? Why? Why this? Why that? Why what? Basically this is movie, but after a good depth look into it, the movie is an astonishing one. While it may not be widely enjoyed by everyone and may even seems quite uneven to some and also annoy those that only likes typical endings, this is by far one of the few flawless movie that I have seen this year and perhaps the first. Love will always remain a issue in this world and problems will always be there to either create opportunities or become miss opportunities. While this movie isn’t exactly ground breaking, it is damn good movie that will change your view of marriage, either making you treasure your partner more or simply not believing in it at all.

I rate it 9.5/10

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Genre: Romantic Drama
Director: Yu Ha
Cast: Uhm Jung Hwa | Gam Woo Sung
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), August 2005