Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Host (Gwoemul)

This (I think) is the first film I've given a decimal point too and in this case it's .8

Firstly let me say thank you. Thank you to Korea (well the South part at least I guess) for making fucking good films! Hollywood PAY SOME DAMN ATTENTION and no don't remake the damn things, look at what they're doing, LEARN FROM IT!

The Host is a monster movie, an honest, big exciting and at times scary monster movie. Taking it's cues from the standard cold war era ideas, that of genetic mutation due to human intervention (in this case chemicals in the river) and also goes a little further, having a little dig at the Yanks (even though their involved, so well done them), and chemical warfare.

I've been meaning to watch this for ages, unforunatly I didn't get to see it at the cinema and as my girlfriend isn't into "reading a film" it's been a long time coming. We hired this at the same time as Deja Vu, watched Denzel at home and I watched this on the train on my MacBook, I know not the best situation, but a testament to the strength of the film that I can't remember pretty much any of my journey, I was totally involved in this wonderful film.

After the textbook introduction to the "chemical incident", funny, creepy and a little odd, we kick off by meeting our lead protagonist Park Gang-Du (although I think the subtitles may have been wrong there as later in the film there's some t-shirts with Park Kang-Doo on), he's a slacker, practically narcoleptic and a dad. We meet his dad, they both work in a food stall by the side of the Han River, along comes Gang-Du's daughter Hyun-seo, we learn her uncle came to her school thing, he smells of alcohol, and they watch her aunt in an archery contest on the telly. This is our family.

Cue monster and good God what a sequence, thrilling, funny, tender, everything it should have and then some!! During the ensuing carnage the daughter gets taken by the monster and the rest of the film is essentially the family trying to get her back again.

It's a beautiful film, superbly directed, beautifully shot and pretty damn well acted. You have to accept that at times it does have those "very south east asian" moments, meaning (before everyone starts screaming 'racist' at me!!), after watching a fair few Hong Kong, Japanese and Korean films, it seems there's a thing where, when heavy emotion is required they go full on hysterical, screaming, wailing, rolling around on the floor, feet slipping from underneath, stumbling, shouting at each other through tears... it just seems a bit over the top, in The Host it's played fairly heavily for laughs, but it's something that crops up and always feels a little odd.

For the odd hysteria, which crops up throughout, and that I would've preferred a little more subtlty, plus the ending that I didn't entirely get, it lost 0.2. This film is an Action, Horror and Comedy and I suggest everyone go and buy it right now and start watching more Korean films!!

After a good day's worth of thinking... This IS the best monster movie I've ever seen.

The Host (Gwoemul) - 9.8/10


Mike Peter Reed said...

I was about to shout at you when I thought you'd given it .8 (0.8).

I see you have sense, although I'm not entirely sure it should be that close to 10.

If you like the Host, then IMVHO, "The Returner" absolutely blows it away (along with a few cinematic sacred cows -- bloody hell! that shouldn't happen to children in a film!!!!)

Look! it's only a fiver!!!

Just don't go watching this film thinking "this is a ripoff of terminator" (it basically is), instead revel in the Japanese sadism and mad unfolding thing.

Matt Grover said...

I've been meaning to watch that for a while now, i keep seeing it around.

I will watch it, on your reccommendation, thus if it's shite, it's your fault ;)