Sunday, September 13, 2009
Two Hits from a Bong
Words almost fail THE FUTURIST! in his appreciation of these two films from Korean director Bong Joon-Ho. Last week, THE FUTURIST! viewed MEMORIES OF MURDER and this week THE HOST. MEMORIES OF MURDER is an involving 130 min. tale of the lengthy investigation of a serial killer in a South Korean province. You become totally immersed into this tale that stretches into years of frustrating police work that yields nothing. Telling you that it yields nothing does not spoil the experience; this tale is the Asian cinema sister of David Fincher's ZODIAC, even though that picture was made several years later. This killer tale serves up more emotion than the cold delivery of Fincher's film. You will find much to compare from both films ... in fact, one wonders if Mr. Fincher was influenced by this Korean treat. In the case of this spellbinding crime thriller and the monster movie THE HOST, THE FUTURIST! found himself trying to acclimate to the Korean sensibility, but doing so without difficulty. The film's moods mix comedy, adventure, political statements and horror in equal quantities. Both of these films are genre bending. Bong Joon-Ho takes the idea of a crime thriller and a monster movie and adds so much to the cinematic soup of storytelling. THE HOST is not only about a giant fish creature with land mobility devouring human Asian cuisine, but it is, also, a story about American influence over South Korea, a dysfunctional family unit, government protesters with good intentions (but poor information), evil scientists with political motivations and the horrors of pollution. Both films hold your eyes in one direction ... toward the screen with all other thoughts kicked upstairs to the attic of your brain. Good Gravy, these were two fantastic cinematic experiences.