Over the course of last month I watched two movies only — Snowpiercer and Stoker — the both of them are English-speaking films by Korean directors, and both strikingly impressive.
Snowpiecer by Bong Joon-ho was an overwhelming experience on all senses. The story belongs to the distopian genre which has been effectively exploited over the past few years, what with the rise of The Hunger Games, yet still stands out so uniquely. It has the most daring and well put-together plot in which the imaginative world and characters developed so naturally and believably. At the same time, it embraces that poetic quality, which automatically contributes to the Asian essence, the undeniably Korean core of the film.
Personally I feel myself inadequate of discussing more elaborately on this movie, due to the fact that I have watched it only once, where the social structure and the human fate contained within the train of Mr. Wilford require more in-depth contemplation. The many layers of this story unfold millions of possibilities about life, and about the inevitable fight that every single one of us cannot run away from if we want to survive, chasing the thin shred of hope.
I am definitely planning a re-watch and cannot wait to be absorbed into this incredibly fine work of art once again.
Stoker by the renowned director Park Chan-wook, on the other hand, seems to fall short of my expectation, but only because I have anticipated this movie for the longest time.
Having watched previous Korean films from Park Chan-wook, I braced myself for a brutally twisted cinematic escapade, yet after finish watching Stoker I felt like the director was holding back. The dysfunctional family aspect was not dysfunctional enough; the twisted personalities were not as twisted as I had hoped for. The story was neatly built up, every little detail calculated into the impeccable arrangement of a plot, and I guess that was why the movie felt stiff, too designed.
The actors and actresses did marvelous jobs on the material they were given, and the cinematography was a dream; one can only wish the actual outcome can be a little bit more deranged. The calmness of being, the unagitated settle of disturbing relationships, the almost serene atmosphere hanging throughout, all those elements boiled up as the story progressed, seemingly evoking the audience to wonder and long for a rougher, wilder version of a vicious push and pull within it. I found myself looking for that unbalance feeling, the sensation of being on edge the whole time while watching this immaculate film.
In general, suffice it to say that Stoker is a great movie, something I can never emphasize enough. Unfortunately, it was all it planned out to be, when it could have been so much more.